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Somali lawmakers gathered Sunday in Mogadishu to vote in a long overdue presidential election. 35 candidates are vying for the top job in a country that is fighting an Islamist insurgency and the threat of famine.

Elections have been flawed and more than a year behind schedule, and Somalia's international partners are warning that delays caused by political infighting are a dangerous distraction from the fight against al-Shabaab jihadists.

Voting will take place under tight security in a tent inside the secure Mogadishu airport complex, with little to no traffic in the capital, where police have imposed a curfew until Monday. Flights have also been cancelled, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The vote is expected to draw a line under a political crisis that has been going on for more than a year after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's term ended in February 2021 without an election.

Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, is now seeking re-election but faces strong competition from former presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, as well as former prime minister Hassan Ali Khaireh.

Puntland State President Said Abdullahi Dani and former Foreign Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam, the only female contender, are also running.

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