African Union set to choose new chairperson today

It is currently held by Comorian President Azali Assoumani.

In Summary
  • The role is ceremonial yet influential.
  • Both Morocco and Algeria, considered as major funders of AU were fighting for the seat.
Image: African heads of state and government during a past meeting./AUC

African heads of state who are currently meeting in Addis Ababa for the 37th ordinary summit will today elect a new African Union chairperson.

The ceremonial yet potentially influential role is held on a rotational basis each year among the five regions.

Comorian President Azali Assoumani who has been holding the seat since 2023 is set to hand over to a candidate from North Africa.

Angola is seeking the post in 2025.

Assoumani from the Eastern Africa region took over the baton of command from Macky Sall of Senegal in February 2023.

Both Morocco and Algeria, considered major funders of AU were fighting for the seat.

A candidate must be selected by consensus or at least a two-thirds majority vote by member states.

The chairperson is expected to complete the term without interruption.

Countries with impending elections are ineligible to contest.

The incumbent chairs the biannual summit meetings of the assembly and represents the continent in various international forums such as G7, TICAD, FOCAC and G20 summits.

They also assist in resolving crises on the continent as an elder statesman.

The position is distinct from that of the AU Commission.

It has been suggested that liaison offices be established to prevent friction between the incumbent and the commission chairperson.

In 2008, following Kenya's post-election crisis, AU Chairman Jakaya Kikwete was instrumental in facilitating the opposing sides to agree to a Government of National Unity.

Kikwete also backed the invasion of Anjouan by sending an AU Force to assist the Comoros federal government in removing renegade leader Mohamed Bacar.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star