Ethiopia’s parliament approves Sahle-Work Zewde as first female president

Sahle-Work is at present UN under-secretary general and special representative of the secretary general to the African Union. (File/AFP)
Updated 25 October 2018
0

Ethiopia’s parliament approves Sahle-Work Zewde as first female president

  • Sahle-Work is at present UN under-secretary general and special representative of the secretary general to the African Union
  • Sahle-Work becomes the fourth president since the ruling EPRDF coalition came to power

ADDIS ABABA: 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 UN 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.
The president’s post is a ceremonial one in Ethiopia. The prime minister, who is the head of state, holds executive power.
“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.”
Last week, when the prime minister reshuffled his cabinet, he appointed 10 female ministers, making Ethiopia the third country in Africa, after Rwanda and Seychelles, to achieve gender parity in their cabinets.
“When there is no peace in country, mothers will be frustrated. Therefore, we need to work on peace for the sake of our mothers,” Sahle-Work told parliament after her approval.
Teshome, who had held the office for five years, depated one year ahead of his term ending, saying he wanted to be part of change and reforms.
Sahle-Work becomes the fourth president since the ruling EPRDF coalition came to power.
Since his appointment in April, Abiy has presided over a raft of reforms that have turned the region’s politics on its head, including the pardoning of dissidents long outlawed by the government.


14 dead after fire on two vessels off Crimea coast

Updated 5 min 30 sec ago
0

14 dead after fire on two vessels off Crimea coast

MOSCOW: Fourteen people were killed and five were missing off Russia-annexed Crimea in the Black Sea on Monday after a fire engulfed gas tankers sailing under the flag of Tanzania, authorities said.
“There are 11 bodies,” Alexei Kravchenko, spokesman for Russia’s Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport, told AFP.
“Another three people went under water before rescue workers’ eyes.”
Those three are most likely dead, he said.
The ships, the Kandy and the Maestro, had crews of nationals from India and Turkey.
The Kandy had a 17-strong crew, while the Maestro carried 14 people.
Twelve people had survived, Kravchenko said, but “no one knows where the other five people are.”
The fire broke out when one vessel was transferring fuel to the other, driving both crews to jump overboard, said Kravchenko.
“A search-and-rescue operation is continuing,” Kravchenko added.
Authorities in the Crimean city of Kerch were preparing to receive the victims, he added.
The accident struck close to the Kerch Strait, which has become a new flashpoint in tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
In November, Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian navy vessels in the Kerch Strait as they tried to pass from the Black Sea to the Azov Sea.
The confrontation was the first open military clash between Kiev and Moscow since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and a pro-Russian insurgency erupted in eastern Ukraine.