Representative Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and United States Congressional Representative to the United Nations, released the following statement regarding the recent appointment of Joyce Banda as President of Malawi.
"It is encouraging to see the continued progress of Malawi as a free and fair democracy. The government and people of Malawi have reaffirmed their commitment to a democratic system and the principles of a free society through this transition. For the past 20 years, Malawi has become a shining example of peaceful democracy -- an example for African nations struggling to establish democracies.
"The peaceful transition of power, notably the transition to a female leader, demonstrates a strong respect for the constitution and the democratic process." Congresswoman Buerkle added, "As a woman in politics myself, it is pleasing to see opportunities for women expanding around the globe, particularly in the realm of government. I extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to President Banda."
Joyce Banda, previously Vice President of Malawi, became head of state following the death in office of President Bingu wa Mutharika. President Banda is the first female president in southern Africa and only the second female president on the African continent in modern times.