Ethiopia's president resigns amid Cabinet reshuffle, state media says

Saul Bowman
October 26, 2018

Under the Ethiopian constitution the president is given a maximum of a two terms of six years each.

Her election comes hours after former President Mulatu Teshome resigned from office.

Sahle-Work now serves as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' special representative to the African Union and head of the United Nations Office to the African Union.

The joint extraordinary session of the Ethiopian parliament on Thursday "will deliberate on the president's application for resignation and will elect a new president, " according to ENA. The role has been given to Ms Zewde Sahle-Work, an experienced diplomat who most recently held a position with the United Nations.

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

President Sahle Work Zewde right recieves a book of the Constitution from former President Mulatu Teshomea at the Parliament in Addis Ababa Oct. 25 2018
Eduardo Soteras AFP Getty Images

Abiy last week cut the country's ministerial roster to 20 and handed half the positions to women, including a female defense minister, another first for the nation. A woman also leads the new Ministry of Peace, will oversees the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service and the Federal Police Commission.

Sahle-Work called Ethiopia's recent transfer of power to the reformist prime minister "exemplary" and said she will focus on bringing together all sides to achieve peace in a country with multiple ethnic-based conflicts in recent months.

The moves in Ethiopia are the latest in sweeping political and economic reforms in Africa's second most populous country since Abiy took office in April following months of nationwide anti-government protests demanding wider freedoms. "They also suffer from low status in their society and lack social support networks", UN Women says on its website.

Previously, she was the Director General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), a role that saw her hold meetings with His Excellency President Kenyatta on numerous occasions.

"The House of Peoples' Representatives shall nominate the candidate for President".

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