(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on Wednesday elected Cameroonian legislator Roger Nkondo Dang as president of the continental parliament, replacing Nigeria's Bethel Amadi who has led the organization for the past three years.
"Thank you very much for your support and confidence in me," Dang told lawmakers.
Dang won 85 votes, trouncing two other contenders for the post.
Mozambican legislature Eduardo Joaquim Mulembwe came second after getting 70 votes, mainly from members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
"I will continue to work hard for the pan-African Parliament and the people of Africa," Mulembwe said, shortly after the parliament's electoral commission announced Dang as the new president.
Tunisia's Rahoui Mongi, who obtained nine votes during the polls, also pledged to offer his support to the new president.
"My heartfelt congratulations go to Roger Nkondo for wining," he said in French.
The newly elected president walked up to his rivals and hugged them before bringing them to the podium to make speeches.
One hundred and sixty four members of parliament were present in the house during the elections.
Elections for the first and second vice presidents, as well as positions for committee chairpersons are currently still underway.
"Our parliament has many languages, let's find unity in our diversity," Outgoing PAP President and Nigerian MP, Bethel Amadi, told parliamentarians.
He urged members to forget differences and remain united so that they can seek solutions to the many problems on the continent.
The elections for the PAP president took long to start as members debated the need for regional rotation for the position of the presidency.
Some did not want the newly-elected president of parliament Dang to contest for the position because he is from the central African region close to Nigeria and also previously served as vice president of PAP.
Many members from Southern and East Africa had shown their support during the debate for the Mozambican legislator but they were defeated in the polls.
The PAP, which kicked off last week, discussed a wide range of issues, including the turmoil in Burundi, migration and recent attacks against foreigners in South Africa.
Established in 2004 as a legislative organ of the African Union, the parliament seeks to ensure the full participation of African peoples in governance and economic integration.
Each African Union member state contributes five local legislators to the parliament, which is based in Midrand in the Johannesburg metropolitan.
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