MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The first Somali has been elected to the Minneapolis City Council, making him the highest elected Somali in the country.

Abdi Warsame secured 64 percent of first-place votes for the seat Tuesday. He defeated 12-year Council Member Robert Lilligren, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.

The 35-year-old left Somalia as a child and spent much of his life in England. He moved to Minneapolis in 2006 and heads the tenant association for the Riverside Plaza, the high-rises that house 4,000 East Africans.

Seven new members will be sworn in next year to the city council.

Voter turnout in the ward increased significantly since the 2009 race, and Warsame won with three times as many votes as Lilligren garnered in his last election.