Ethiopia’s parliament elected Mulatu Teshome to be the country’s new president Monday, for a six-year term in a largely symbolic and ceremonial post.
“Following the opening of the new parliament, a joint session of the House of Representatives and House of Federation elected Ambassador Dr. Mulatu Teshome as the President of Ethiopia,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
While officially head of state, real power rests in the hands of the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Mulatu, 57, who was Ethiopia’s ambassador to Turkey until his appointment, replaces 88-year old Girma Wolde Giorgis, who first took the post in 2001 and was reelected in 2007.
“I feel honoured to be the fourth president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,” Mulatu said after taking the oath of office, and vowing to fulfil “the country’s development strategies.”
Mulatu, who like all Ethiopia is known by his first name, comes from the Oromo people, the country’s largest ethnic group.
He has also served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to China and Japan as well as Ethiopia’s Minister of Agriculture.
Ethiopia’s parliament is dominated by the ruling party, with only one opposition member.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn himself took office in September 2012, a month after the death of long-time ruler Meles Zenawi.