March 30, 2018
Abiy Ahmed, the new chairman of the ruling coalition, is scheduled to be sworn in as prime minister this Monday.
The ceremony was initially planned for today ; no reason was given as to why the planned swearing-in ceremony is canceled.
He will be sworn in by the parliament which is due to have its second special meeting. The 547 seat Ethiopian parliament is entirely controlled by the ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
The current constitution stipulates that the parliament installs the prime minister from the party that holds the majority of seat in the parliament.
Dr. Abiy Ahmed, chairman of Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), a party that was initially crafted by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) about a year before taking over power in Addis Ababa after the collapse of Colonel Mengistu’s government in 1991, was elected as chairman of the ruling coalition EPRDF this week. He won 108 votes from the 180 members EPRDF coalition which is symmetrical, number wise, drawn from the four ethnic-based parties that constitute the party. Abiy Ahmed got 63 votes from outside of his ethnic party, OPDO, and it became clear that the colossal support in making Abiy Ahmed chairman of the party and prime minister came from Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM).
The election of Abiy Ahmed met with mixed reaction. Some Ethiopians see it as “a step in the right direction” and seem to anticipate significant changes from the prime minister-designate, Aiy Ahmed.
Some are cautiously optimistic about Abiy’s election and express a hope that he could take Ethiopia out of political turmoil.
Critical Ethiopians, on the other hand, see the election of Abiy as irrelevant as far as fundamental political change is concerned. And the reason, for this group, is that TPLF, the party that dominated the ruling coalition for so long, still in control of key institutions like the defense force, intelligence, and security.
Last week, the regime rearrested political prisoners and journalists apart from arresting activists in Amhara and Oromo regions of Ethiopia.
Former US Assistant Secretary, Herman Cohen, who tweeted a month or so ago that Abiy Ahmed will be the next prime minister, called on Abiy to boldly move along the line of democratic reforms.
Message for new #Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed: Do not be reluctant to take bold steps toward democratic reform. TPLF politico-economic monopolists have been revealed as frauds, and will not be able to restrain you. International community is with you.
— Herman J. Cohen (@CohenOnAfrica) March 28, 2018
African Union current chairman, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, reportedly called Dr. Abiy Ahmed on his election as the next prime minister of Ethiopia.
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