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Ethiopian lawmakers elect the east African nation’s first female president

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Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed walks with newly-elected President Sahle-Work Zewde, as they leave the parliament building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Oct. 25, 2018

Veteran Ethiopian diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde has been elected by lawmakers as the east African nation’s first female president.

She will succeed Mulatu Teshome, who resigned from the largely ceremonial post on Wednesday. She is limited to two six-year terms in office.

The 68-year-old Sahle-Work is the United Nations’ Special Representative to the African Union. She has previously served Ethiopia as ambassador to France, Senegal and Djibouti, and headed the U.N. office in Nairobi.

Fitsum Arega, the chief of staff for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, hailed Sahle-Work’s election Thursday 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 normalises women as decision-makers in public life,” he wrote.  ref v0a

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