Prominent scientist Ameenah Gurib-Fakim was on Thursday approved by the parliament of Mauritius as the Indian Ocean island nation’s new president, making her the first woman to hold the ceremonial position. Parliament speaker Maya Hanoomanjee, who is also the first woman to hold that post, said the overwhelming approval of Gurib-Fakim’s designation was an historic day for the country. The opposition also supported her appointment, making the vote a mere formality.
Her inauguration ceremony will take place on Friday, officials said.Gurib-Fakim, aged 56, becomes the first female president of the island, which gained independence from Britain in 1968 and replaced Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state in 1992.
Former president Kailash Purryag, who had been put in place by the previous government, stepped down as the island’s figurehead last week, having served as president since July 2012, when he was appointed by the island’s previous Labour party government of former premier Navin Ramgoolam.