Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe has been sworn in for a second term shortly after he was declared winner of the presidential vote cast on Thursday.
He garnered 56 votes out of the 74 cast by the regional members of Parliament in the state capital Kismayu manned by African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) soldiers and Jubbaland security forces.
Mr Madobe, who has ruled the Somalia state since 2013, will now serve for another four years.
In results announced by Dr Hamza Barre, the chairman of the Jubbaland Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Mr Madobe defeated his closest challenger Anab Mohamed Dahir by 39 votes, gaining a two-thirds majority that ensured that there was no need a for second round of voting.
Mr Madobe’s other challenger Mohamed Mohamud Omar got one vote, while four others technically in the race scored zero.
Political analysts had warned that the election could be the difference between violence and peace.
The landslide victory for the former commander of Ras Kamboni Brigade, which routed Al-Shabaab from Kismayu with the help of Kenyan soldiers in 2012, comes on the back of heightened tensions between Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as between Jubbaland and the federal government of Somalia.
On Saturday, Mogadishu had declared that it would not recognise the Jubbaland election outcome and accused Madobe of interfering with the selection of presidential candidates.
Jubbaland blocked all entries into Kismayu on Tuesday saying the move was intended to stop the Somali federal government from throwing the election into disarray, following reports of secret deployment of Ethiopia soldiers to disrupt elections, from diplomatic sources.