Somalia profile - Leaders
- 17 September 2013
- From the section Africa
President: Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
A relatively new figure in Somali politics, the academic and civic activist Hassan Sheikh Mohamud beat the incumbent Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in a run-off presidential vote in September 2012.
This was the first presidential election held on Somali soil since 1967, although the vote by MPs was held under tight security at the Mogadishu Police Academy.
Born in 1955 into the powerful Hawiye clan, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud remained in Somalia throughout the civil war, working in teacher training for the UN children's organisation Unicef then assisting the UN in various peace initiatives.
He had studied engineering in Somalia and completed a masters degree in India, and went on to help found the Somali Institute of Management and Administration Development, now Simad University, in Mogadishu in 1999. He served as its dean for ten years.
He founded the Peace and Development Party the following year, and was elected to parliament as its leader in August 2012.
President Mohamud has to try to reunite a country divided into a de-facto independent north and a south still partly controlled by the al-Shabab Islamist militia, while rallying the support of the rival politicians whom he beat to the presidency.