Ethiopia’s ruling coalition elects new leader, likely to become new Prime Minister

Abiy Ahmed [Photo credit: Bartamaha]

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition has elected a new leader, Abiy Ahmed, who is expected to be sworn in as Prime Minister soon.

Ahmed was voted chairperson of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), state-owned media reported.

The appointment comes six weeks after former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned amid widespread anti-government demonstrations.

Prominent opposition politician Merera Gudina told dpa that Ahmed’s appointment could be a new dawn for Ethiopia and might put an end to months of protests.

Ahmed, who holds degrees in peace and security studies, computer engineering and transformational leadership, previously served as science and information minister and co-founded Ethiopia’s intelligence and security service.

The outspoken politician is widely regarded as a reformer who could bring new ideas to Ethiopia’s conservative political leadership.

If appointed prime minister, the 41-year-old Ahmed will be the first head of state from the ethnic Oromo group since the EPRDF came to power in 1991.

Ethiopia’s restive Oromia and Amhara regions have been engulfed by violent protests over political and ethnic marginalisation in recent years.

Almost 700 people have been killed in the violence since August 2016, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said in 2017. (dpa/NAN)

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