Somalia on Wednesday elected Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo as new President following a battle that saw 23 candidates take part in an election that had been delayed four times.

Farmajo beat his closest challenger and incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in the second round of voting. And although he did not gain the required two thirds of the 327 cast, Mr Mohamud accepted defeat making third round irrelevant.

The polls conducted at the main airport in Mogadishu heavily guarded by the African Union Mission on Somalia Forces, had seen former Presidents, senior politicians and former envoys, join the race in which the 328 MPs of the Federal Parliament were to elect the new leader.

And Farmajo, 55, is a former diplomat who served in the Somali Embassy in Washington before successfully applying for asylum when the government of Siad Barre collapsed in 1991.

In a country that has changed presidents 12 times since 1960, including three acting presidents, two coups and one assassination, Farmajo’s election extends Somalia’s long-held tradition of never re-electing an incumbent.

Educated at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Farmajo who also holds US citizenship, obtained his Masters degree in Political Science and International Relations from the same university, after studying history t undergraduate.