Ethiopia gets First Female President

Ethiopia on Thursday appointed a woman to the largely ceremonial position of president for the first time in the country’s history.

In a unanimous vote, Ethiopian lawmakers picked career diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde to replace Mulatu Teshome who resigned.

Sahle-Work has been Ethiopia’s ambassador to France, Djibouti, Senegal, and the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

She was the UN’s top official at the African Union prior to her appointment as president.

In her 60s, she is fluent in English and French as well as Amharic. As president, she is expected to serve two six-year terms.

Political power in Ethiopia is wielded by the prime minister with the president’s role is restricted to attending ceremonies and functions.

Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week appointed a slimline 20-person cabinet in which half the posts are held by women.

They include defense minister Aisha Mohammed and Muferiat Kamil who leads the newly-created Ministry of Peace, responsible for police and domestic intelligence agencies.

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