The Ethiopian Joint Parliament on Thursday appointed a woman for the first time to the largely ceremonial position of President. This development is completely unprecedented as the position has never been occupied by a woman.
Ethiopian lawmakers in an unanimous vote selected career diplomat Sahle – Work Zewde to replace Former President Teshome who resigned on Wednesday.
Teshome tendered his resignation to the joint Parliament on Wednesday after spending 5 years in power. The former president was once the country’s ambassador to China before undertaking the post.
The New President, Sahle-Work, is in her late 60s and has been the country’s ambassador to Senegal, Djibouti, France, and the regional bloc, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development ( IGAD ).
Just before her appointment, she was the United Nation’s top official at the African Union (AU). She is fluent in English, Amharic and French. President Sahle-Work is expected to serve two six-year terms. The political structure in Ethiopia solely revolves around the Prime Minister who holds majority of the administrative duties.
The presidential post is mainly ceremonial and it involves attending ceremonies and functions.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Ahmed has taken a reformist stance in recent years by appointing a slimline 20-person cabinet in which half of the posts were occupied 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