The Ethiopian parliament has elected its first female speaker on Thursday after approving the 29-member cabinet including three women appointed by the new prime minister Abiy Ahmed.
42-year-old Muferihat Kamil, a former Minister of Women’s Affairs, replaces Abadula Gemeda who has served as Speaker since 2010, reports state media FBC.
She has served various roles as a member of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM) within the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition since 2008.
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Her election as the first female speaker adds to the major structural changes being experienced in Ethiopia including the country’s first ethnic Oromo prime minister Abiy Ahmed.
Ahmed reshuffled the cabinet by bringing in 10 new members including three women and maintaining 19 ministers. He moved the defence minister Sirage Fergesa to the Ministry of Transport and replaced him with another Oromo politician Motuma Mekassa.
“We shall be able to respond to the demands of the people of the country, and this is one of the motives behind the appointment and reshuffle,’’ Ahmed told the parliament on Thursday during the swearing in of new appointees.
The parliament is made up of 547 members, all from the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) which is a coalition of four regional parties.