Somalia‘s southern state of Jubaland has re-elected Ahmed “Madobe” Mohamed Islam as its leader following a disputed poll.
Ahmed defeated three other candidates in a vote cast by the semi-autonomous region’s lawmakers in the port city of Kismayu on Thursday.
The former rebel leader won 56 of the 74 votes cast. Anab Mohamed Dahir, his closest challenger and the only female candidate, won 17 votes, according to the results announced by the regional electoral body.
The poll was delayed by three days, with the regional electoral body saying it was to allow candidates more time to register.
The opposition has said Ahmed was undemocratic during his previous term and critics have accused the electoral commission of working to skew results in his favour.
Last week, authorities in the capital, Mogadishu, announced that they would not accept the outcome of the poll, calling the process “not free and fair”.
A group of Ahmed’s rivals swore in their own legislature and organised a separate poll of MPs to coincide with Thursday’s vote in Kismayu.
Security was tight in the city, with the airport shut, traffic coming into the city blocked, and soldiers patrolling the streets as regional lawmakers cast their votes.
In his victory speech, Ahmed said: “Let us forgive us each other. I’m ready to hold dialogue with the opposition and address any issues they may have.
“We want to work with neighbouring countries on security. We will work with anyone to maintain the stability and development of the region. We want to work with them in the fight against al-Shabab.” He added.
The United Nations on Wednesday called on all stakeholders to hold a “single electoral process that is credible, inclusive, fair and peaceful”.
“We are concerned that in the absence of such agreement, the likelihood of instability and division within Jubaland is significantly increased,” the UN said in a statement.