PORT LOUIS, Mauritius: Mauritius president Kailash Purryag announced Friday he was stepping down from his position as ceremonial figurehead of the Indian Ocean island nation. The decision, which was widely expected, paves the way for the new government to appoint the country’s first female head of state — internationally-renowned scientist and biologist Ameenah Gurib-Fakim. A statement from the presidency said Purryag’s resignation was in accordance with an earlier agreement with Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth, who was elected in December last year. Purryag has served as president since July 2012, when he was appointed by the island’s previous Labour party government of former premier Navin Ramgoolam. Gurib-Fakim will be the first female president of the island, which gained independence from Britain in 1968.