Mayor of Bangui Catherine Samba-Panza has been voted as the interim president of the Central African Republic.
Her election sets a history as first female president in the war-torn nation.
She beat her rival Desire Kolingba by 75 against 53 votes in the second round of the voting from the 129 members of the National Transitional Council present at the voting.
In her victory speech, Ms Samba-Panza urged Christian militias, known as anti-balaka, and Muslim fighters in the ex-Seleka rebel movement to end the bloodshed.
“I call on my children, especially the anti-balaka, to put down their arms and stop all the fighting. The same goes for the ex-Seleka – they should not have fear. I don’t want to hear any more talk of murders and killings,” she said, the Associated Press news agency reports.
“Starting today, I am the president of all Central Africans, without exclusion,” she said.
Cheers broke out in the National Transitional Council, which serves as an interim parliament, when Ms Samba-Panza’s victory was announced.
Appointed mayor of Bangui by interim government – accepted by both Seleka rebels and their opponents
Successful businesswoman and corporate lawyer
Christian but seen as politically neutral
Chaired national dialogue in 2003
Born 26 June 1954 in Chad – father from Cameroon and mother from CAR