Ethiopia appoints Sahle-Work Zewde as first female president


The Ethiopian parliament has assented to senior diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president, proceedings on state television showed, cementing another shift in the country’s political system from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Sahle-Work is currently the UN under-secretary general and special representative of the secretary general to the African Union.

She will takeover from Mulatu Teshome Wirtu, who handed in his resignation at parliament earlier on Wednesday.

“In a historic move, the two Houses has elected Ambassador Shale-work Zewde as the next President of #Ethiopia. She is the first female head of state in modern Ethiopia,” Fitsum Arega, Abiy’s chief of staff, said on Twitter.

“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 Ethiopian prime minister reshufffled his cabinet last week; he appointed 10 female ministers. Ethiopia is now the third country in Africa to achieve gender equality in their cabinets.

“When there is no peace in country, mothers will be frustrated. Therefore, we need to work on peace for the sake of our mothers,” Sahle-Work told parliament after her approval.

Sahle-Work will be the fourth president since the ruling EPRDF coalition came to power.


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