Lawmakers in Angola elected a woman to head the nation’s parliament for the first time as Joao Lourenco assembles a new administration for his second term as president.
Carolina Cerqueira, 66, former minister of state for social affairs, was chosen late Friday as president of the National Assembly. She becomes the third most senior government official after Lourenco, who was sworn in this week, and Vice President Esperanca da Costa.
It’s the first time the oil producing country has had two women highest in the line of succession to the presidency.
Cerqueira’s selection was marred by controversy after most of the opposition refused to vote and later stormed out of the assembly in Luanda. They accused the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, of reneging on a promise to grant the post of deputy vice president to a member of the National Union for Total Liberation of Angola, or Unita.
The MPLA, which nominated Cerqueira, has 124 seats in the 220-member parliament following Angola’s Aug. 24 election. Unita, which rejected the outcome, has 90 seats.
Lourenco reappointed most of the previous cabinet, including Finance Minister Vera Daves de Sousa. Diamantino Azevedo kept his post as minister for minerals, petroleum and gas.