Ethiopian members of parliament have elected Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president.
She was voted in after the unexpected resignation of her predecessor, Mulatu TeshomeSahle-Work, who is in her late 60s, has been Ethiopia’s ambassador to France, Djibouti, Senegal, and the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Ms Sahle-Work is an experienced diplomat who most recently held a position with the United Nations.
In a unanimous vote, Ethiopian lawmakers picked career diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde to replace Mulatu Teshome who resigned.
Sahle-Work, who is in her late 60s, has been Ethiopia’s ambassador to France, Djibouti, Senegal, and the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Just prior to her appointment as president she was the UN’s top official at the African Union. As president, she is expected to serve two six-year terms.
In her acceptance speech, President Sahle-Work spoke about the importance of maintaining peace, local media say.
Her election to the ceremonial position comes a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken up by women.
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 defence minister Aisha Mohammed and Muferiat Kamil who leads the newly-created Ministry of Peace, responsible for police and domestic intelligence agencies.