Sahle-Work Zewde elected first woman President of Ethiopia; 68-yr-old UN veteran unanimously chosen by parliament

Addis Ababa: The two houses of Ethiopia unanimously elected United Nations diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde as the first female President of the African country on Thursday. Fitsum Arega, the Prime Minister's Office's Chief of Staff, tweeted announcing the historic decision.

"In a historic move, the two Houses have elected Ambassador Sahle-Work Zewde as the next President of #Ethiopia. She is the first female head of state in modern Ethiopia. A career diplomat and senior official at the UN, she brings the right competence and experience to the office," Arega tweeted.

 Image of Sahle-Work Zewde. Twitter/@fitsumaregaa

Image of Sahle-Work Zewde. Twitter/@fitsumaregaa

He further mentioned that Zewde's selection "normalises women as decision-makers in public life" in a "patriarchal" society like Ethiopia's. "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. #Ethiopia," he said.

The vote was made during the second Special Joint Session of Ethiopia's House of People's Representatives and the House of the Federation on Thursday. She will be leading Ethiopia as its ceremonial head, with Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister.

The African nation had recently become the first in the continent to have a cabinet comprised of 50 per cent women.

Key ministerial portfolios including ministries of Peace, Defence and Trade and Industry are now run by women leaders in the country.

Zewde is an accomplished Ethiopian diplomat, who has served as the UN Under-Secretary-General, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU).

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Updated Date: Oct 25, 2018 19:54 PM

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