Ethiopia picks only fe­male pres­i­dent in all of con­ti­nent

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Ethiopia on Thurs­day ap­pointed a woman to the largely cer­e­mo­nial po­si­tion of pres­i­dent for the first time, fur­ther in­creas­ing fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the gov­ern­ment of Africa’s sec­ond most pop­u­lous na­tion.

In a unan­i­mous vote, Ethiopian law­mak­ers picked ca­reer diplo­mat Sahle-Work Zewde, 68, to re­place Mu­latu Teshome who re­signed in un­clear cir­cum­stances.

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.

“If the cur­rent change in Ethiopia is headed equally by both men and women, it can sus­tain its mo­men­tum and re­al­ize a pros­per­ous Ethiopia free of re­li­gious, eth­nic and gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion,” Sahle-Work said Thurs­day.

Sahle-Work, who was born in the cap­i­tal Addis Ababa and at­tended univer­sity in France, 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. She is flu­ent in English and French as well as Amharic, Ethiopia’s main lan­guage.

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