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Sahle-Work Zewde named Ethiopia’s first woman president

Ethiopia‘s parliament has named Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first woman president.

In a unanimous vote on Thursday during the second Special Joint Session of Ethiopia’s two houses of parliament – the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of the Federation – lawmakers picked the career diplomat for the largely ceremonial role.

Prior to her appointment, Sahle-Work served as both the special representative of the United Nations’ secretary-general and the head of the UN office to the African Union.

She will replace Mulatu Teshome who resigned in unclear circumstances and is expected to serve two six-year terms.

“Mulatu has shown us the way for change and hope, he has shown life continues before and after leaving power. I call on other to heed his example and be ready for change,” Sahle-Work said in a speech in parliament on Thursday.

According to Ethiopian law, the prime minister occupies the highest seat of power, but the position of president carries important symbolic weight and social influence.

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