Sahle-Work was appointed as President of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018, the first female to serve in the role and the fourth president since the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition came to power. She replaced Mulatu Teshome, who resigned in unclear circumstances, and Sahle-Work is expected to serve two six-year terms. Sahle-Work’s appointment makes her Africa’s only serving female head of state.
Ms Sahle-Work’s appointment has been welcomed by Ethiopians on social media with many calling it “historic”.
She has been described as Ethiopia’s first female head of state of the modern era, with some remembering Empress Zewditu who governed the country in the early part of the 20th Century.
Ms Sahle-Work was voted in after the unexpected resignation of her predecessor, Mulatu Teshome.
The prime minister’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, tweeted that “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 normalises women as decision-makers in public life”.
President Sahle-Work has served as an ambassador for Ethiopia in Senegal and Djibouti. She has also held a number of UN positions, including head of peace-building in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Immediately before becoming president, Ms Sahle-Work was the UN representative at the African Union.
In the Ethiopian constitution, the post of president is ceremonial with the prime minister holding the political power.
The last African female head of state was Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who resigned in March over an expenses scandal. She denied any wrong