October 7, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Ethiopian parliament on Monday unanimously elected Mulatu Teshome as the Horn of Africa nation’s fourth president.
- New Ethiopian president Mulatu Teshome (L) takes oath of office on Monday 7, October 2013 (Photo ENA)
Mulatu, 57, will serve for a six-year term replacing 88-year old Girma WoldeGiorgis, who served as the country’s president for two six-year terms since 2001.
He was sworn in before lawmakers after the outgoing president handed over power at a joint session of the House of Representatives and House of Federation.
Although the president is officially head of state, it is a largely ceremonial role as the most powers however belong to the office of the Prime Minister which is currently held by Hailemariam Desalegn, who assumed the post in September 2012, weeks after the death of long-time ruler Meles Zenawi.
Ethiopia’s parliament is dominated by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Out of 547 parliamentary seats, only one is held by a member of the opposition.
"I feel honored to be the fourth president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia," said Mulatu in a speech after he was sworn in.
He vowed to work hard to attain the ongoing developmental strategies of the government and to sustain the strong economic growth that Ethiopia has registered for the last eight years.
Ethiopia will continue work relentlessly to ensure durable peace and security across the east African region, he said, noting the roles the country played working towards peace in Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia.
He further said that Ethiopia will heighten the fight against terrorist groups such as the Al-Qaida linked Al-Shabaab group of Somalia.
The new president vowed to contribute more to enhance diplomatic ties with neighbouring and other foreign countries.
Mulatu, an ethnic Oromo - the country’s largest ethnic group – served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to China and Japan also as Ethiopia’s Minister of Agriculture as well as state minister of finance and economic development.
Up until his appointment, Mulatu had been serving as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Turkey.
The newly-elected president has first degree in philosophy of political economy and a doctorate degree in international law from foreign universities.
The departing president expressed best wishes to his successor.