Sahle-Work Zewde Becomes Ethiopia’s First Female President
Ethiopian members of parliament have elected Sahle-Work Zewde, an experienced diplomat, as the country’s first female president.
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.
In her acceptance speech, President Sahle-Work spoke about the importance of maintaining peace, local media say. She was voted in after the unexpected resignation of her predecessor, Mulatu Teshome.
The prime minister’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, tweeted that 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.
President Sahle-Work has served as an ambassador for Ethiopia in Senegal and Djibouti. She has also held a number of UN positions, including head of peace-building in the Central African Republic.
Immediately before becoming president, Ms Sahle-Work was the UN representative at the African Union.
In the Ethiopian constitution, the post of president is ceremonial with the prime minister holding the political power.