MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- The semi-autonomous Somalia region of Puntland has elected a new president.
Officials on Wednesday confirmed that Abdiweli Mohammed Ali Gaas is the region's new leader.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the president of Somalia, congratulated Gaas on his victory and said he looks forward to working closely with the new government.
Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed noted that the elections were possible because of improved security in the Puntland region. He said Puntland is leading the way toward a federal Somalia.
The Somali leaders also thanked outgoing Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamud Faroole for his five years of service.
Puntland, in northern Somalia, has escaped the decades of conflict seen in the country's south and central regions.