A total of 329 lawmakers will choose Somalia's next leader from among 36 candidates, including the incumbent president 'Farmajo' and other frontrunners Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

All presidential candidates, including President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, arrived at the venue of the election, which has been delayed for almost two years.
All presidential candidates, including President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, arrived at the venue of the election, which has been delayed for almost two years. (Reuters)

Somali lawmakers have gathered in Mogadishu to vote in the country's presidential election, with 35 candidates vying for the top job in the Horn of Africa nation.

The parliament session, chaired by Speaker Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nuur Madobe, officially started the process on Sunday to elect the Horn of Africa country's new president.

“Today is a historic day for Somalia as we are sitting here to elect the president of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” Madobe said.

The vote will be held inside Mogadishu's airport complex, with little movement seen in the capital where police have imposed a curfew until Monday. Flights have also been cancelled, an official said on condition of anonymity.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmajo, is seeking re-election. His opponents are former presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Ex-prime minister Hassan Ali Khaire, Puntland state president Said Abdullahi Dani and former foreign minister Fawzia Yusuf Adan — the lone female contender — are also in the running.

Voting can only begin once two-thirds of the membership of both houses of parliament are present, with the process expected to take several hours.

Four candidates dropped out of the race on Saturday, and more are expected to do so today during multiple rounds of voting, narrowing the options until a winner is chosen.

The victor must secure a minimum of 184 votes.

READ MORE: Deadly suicide attack targets Somali capital ahead of presidential vote

Source: TRTWorld and agencies