Reports coming out from Ethiopia claim that the country will get its first female president as current president, Mulatu Teshome will step down tomorrow.
According to the sources, Ambassador Sahlework Zewde, a prominent Ethiopian diplomat with years of experience with the UN, will be replacing the outgoing president, Dr. Mulatu Teshome, who has been the president since October 2013.
She will become the first female head of state since the coming into power of the current government led by EPRDF.
Ambassador Sahle-work was appointed in June this year by Secretary-General António Guterres as his Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) at the level of Under-Secretary-General, succeeding Haile Menkerios, another Ethiopian to hold the post.
The constitution of Ethiopia as stated in Article 70 states that:
“The House of Peoples’ Representatives shall nominate the candidate for President. And the nominee shall be elected President if a joint session of the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of the Federation approves his candidacy by a two-thirds majority vote.”
However, the constitution also says “a member of either House shall vacate his seat if elected President,” which implies a given premises of the head of state, largely a ceremonial role, being a member of either house. Ambassador Sahle-work is not a member of both houses.
The influential Addis Standard cited top government officials as confirming that Ambassador Sahle-Work Zewde, a top official with the United Nations, UN, was due to be Mulatu’s replacement.
Sahle-work has a rich ambassadorial track record having served as Ethiopian ambassador to several countries previously. Her resignation from the UN role this week is said to be to allow her take the new position of president.
She is all set to be the first woman president of Ethiopia, but only after the joint session of the two legislative houses vote her to the role tomorrow. The vote is seen as a mere formality.
In May 2018 Zewde met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Nairobi, Abiy was on an official visit to the country and visited the UN offices, where she was still head.
She described meeting Abiy as a ‘privilege and distinct honour,’ local portals reported. She will now hold a role where she will work closely with Abiy in administering the over 100 million Ethiopians.
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Sources: Addis Standard
Photo credit: UNIC