Ethiopia’s parliament has approved senior diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president, proceedings on state television showed, cementing another shift in the country’s political system from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Sahle-Work is at present U.N. under-secretary general and special representative of the secretary general to the African Union. She replaces Mulatu Teshome Wirtu, who tendered his resignation to parliament earlier on Wednesday.
“In a historic move, the two Houses has elected Ambassador Shalework Zewde as the next President of #Ethiopia. She is the first female head of state in modern Ethiopia,” Fitsum Arega, Abiy’s chief of staff, said on Twitter.
“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 normalizes women as decision-makers in public life.”