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On this date in 2004, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was elected as president of Somalia.
Ahmed extended an olive branch to warlords he defeated and urged neighboring states to help rebuild Somalia. The East African country had been in a state of chaos since 1991. Yusuf has served as president of the autonomous northeastern region of Puntland since 1998 and was a faction leader and army officer. He beat 25 candidates, in which the 275 members of an interim legislature voted.
The East African country has lacked a widely recognized president and central government since the fall of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991. Many armed factions and the country's clans have since battled for control, and the country lacks national systems of education, health care, and justice--key attributes of a functional state.