January 30, 2009 / 2:27 PM / in 10 years

FACTBOX-Somalia's presidential election

DJIBOUTI, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Somalia’s parliament elects a new president on Friday. [nLU388960]

Here are some facts about the vote and the candidates:


* There are 14 candidates. The president will be elected in a secret ballot by members of parliament. All candidates run in the first round, the six most popular go to a second round and the final round is a runoff between the two leading contenders.

* Technically, a candidate could win before the final round by getting two-thirds of the votes from lawmakers present, but members of parliament say that is unlikely. The final round is decided by simple majority.

* Somalia’s new enlarged parliament is supposed to have 550 members but only 475 seats have been filled. Seventy-five have been left vacant for other opposition politicians and civil society groups to join at a later date.

* Given the size of the parliament and the number of rounds, the election is expected to run late into the night.

* There is a strong consensus that the run-off will be between Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein and Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the moderate Islamist leader from the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS).

* Clan alliances that pervade Somali politics are likely to play a significant role. Eight candidates are from the Darod clan, five are Hawiye and one is from a smaller clan.

* Both leading contenders are Hawiye, so their success may depend on which other clans they bring on board. If one of them wins, they will be expected to choose a Darod prime minister.


* Nur Hassan Hussein has been prime minister since November 2007. A former police officer, a lawyer by training and career public servant, Hussein also ran Somalia’s Red Crescent Society before becoming prime minister. A quietly spoken man, Hussein won kudos from the international community for standing his ground in a feud with former President Abdullahi Yusuf.

* Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was chairman of the Islamic Courts Union that ran Mogadishu for six months in 2006 before Ethiopian soldiers drove them from power. Ahmed studied in Libya and Sudan and taught geography in a Mogadishu secondary school. Before joining parliament this week, Ahmed split with the more hardline Islamist wing of the ARS based in Eritrea.

* Abdirahman Abdi Hussein: a former general and now Somali envoy to Iran.

* Ahmed Hashi Mahmoud: a former army officer.

* Ali Hashi Dhoore: a Somali businessman based in Italy.

* Ali Khalif Galaydh: a former Harvard fellow, he was prime minister from 2000-01 and then became a professor at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in Minnesota in the United States.

* Awad Ahmed Asharo: a member of parliament.

* Hassan Abshir Farah: a former mayor of Mogadishu and prime minister from 2001-03.

* Maslah Mohamed Siad: a general and son of the former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

* Mohamed Ahmed Ali: a young candidate from the Somali diaspora in the United States.

* Mohamed Mohamud Guled: member of parliament and former minister, he was appointed prime minister by then-President Yusuf last year before resigning a few days later.

* Mohamed Osman Aden: counselor, political and consular affairs, at the Somali embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

* Musa Mualim Yusuf: a businessman based in Uganda. Has never lived in Somalia.

* Yusuf Azhari: an adviser to former President Yusuf. (Reporting by David Clarke; Editing by Katie Nguyen)

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