11th EPRDF Congress granted Abiy Ahmed and Demeke Mekonen highest number of vote in the race to lead the organization as Chairman and Vice-Chairman
Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) 11th Congress which is still underway in Hawassa, Southern Ethiopia, elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen as Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively, of the coalition until the next Congress.
The Congress undertook the election in a secret ballot in the afternoon of the third day of the Congress. And it was carried out by a committee of 12 members which the Congress named before the election, according to a report by Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC).
The historic 11th EPRDF Congress (that has 180 voting members) today elected Dr Abiy Ahmed as Chairperson and Ato Demeke Mekonnen as Deputy Chairperson in a secret ballot. Dr Abiy Ahmed will lead the ruling party until the next Congress. #Ethiopia #EPRDFcongress pic.twitter.com/8rbY0pwkN1
— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) October 5, 2018
Three candidates were nominated for the top leadership positions of the ruling coalition that constitutes four ethnic-based political groups (In fact, one of the parties, SEPDM,represents well over 50 ethnic groups of Southern Ethiopia).
Abiy Ahmed (from Oromo Democratic Party), Debretsion Gebremichael (From Tigray People’s Liberation Front) and Demeke Mekonen (From Amhara Democratic Party) were the only nominees for the chairman position as Muferiat Kamil, Federal government speaker of house of people’s representative and chairwomen of South Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, did not participate in the election.
177 voting members participated in the election of which Abiy Ahmed secured near absolute majority votes by getting 176 of them. Demeke Mekonen got 149 votes to lead the organization as vice-chairman. Debretsion Gebremichael got only 15 votes.
In the last two days, a rumor was highly circulating on social media regarding an alleged plot by Tigray People’s Liberation Front to sabotage the possible election of Demeke Mekonen as vice-chairman of the ruling coalition. As it turns out, either the alleged plot did not work, or it was misinformation. The fact that Debretsion Gebremichel got only 15 votes seem to suggest that he did not even get all the votes from the party he leads, Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
Demeke was making headlines in recent months as he was trying to clear himself from an alleged illegal land giveaway to Sudan which he says was a political plot to tarnish his political stature and weaken his political support base. And it is proved that TPLF was behind the land give away to Sudan and the party the Demeke leads is mobilizing the Federal government to get it back. Now, Demeke is considered by many Ethiopians as one of the popular reforms and change leaders within the ruling coalition.
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