Ethiopia gets first female president


Ethiopia’s parliament has approved that Zewde Sahle-Work becomes the country’s president.

Sahle-Work, a diplomat, recently held a position with the United Nations.

She was appointed to the ceremonial position on Thursday after Mulatu Teshome Wirtu, the former president, tendered his resignation.

Wirtu has been the country’s president since 2013.

Fitsum Arega, chief of staff to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed described the appointment of Sahle-Work as historic.

“In a historic move, the two Houses have elected Ambassador Sahle-Work Zewde as the next President of Ethiopia,” he wrote on Twitter.

“She is the first female head of state in modern Ethiopia. A career diplomat & senior official at the UN. She brings the right competence & experience to the office.

“In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalises women as decision-makers in public life.”

The newly appointed president has previously served as an ambassador for Ethiopia in Senegal and Djibouti. She was also the UN representative at the African Union.

In Ethiopia, the prime minister holds the political power while the presidency is a ceremonial position.

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