Ethiopia: Ruling Coalition To Choose New Prime Minister

Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned on February 15, 2018, was also leader of EPRDF.

Following the surprise resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn on February 15, 2018 as Prime Minister and Chair of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF ruling coalition, officials are getting set to choose his replacement. The BBC reports that the crucial meeting of the 180-strong EPRDF Council is expected to hold any time from now to make a final choice from seven contestants.

They are Lemma Magersa, Abiy Ahmed, Debretsion G Michael, Demeke Mekonen, Workneh Gebeyehu, Siraj Fegessa and Shiferaw Shigute. Lemma Magersa, 47, is the current President of Oromia Regional State and deputy leader of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation, OPDO. Abiy Ahmed, the leader of OPDO, is seen as the front-runner in the race to succeed the outgoing PM. Aged 42, Abiy served in the military and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Debretsion G Michael has been Director of the Information and Communication Development Agency since 2006.

He also served as Deputy PM. Demeke Mekonen on the other hand is the current Deputy Prime Minister. Workneh Gebeyehu is a member of OPDO and current Foreign Affairs Minister. He was for many years Commissioner of the Federal Police Commission. Shiferaw Shigute was previously Minister of Education and President of the Southern Ethiopia Regional State. He is the newly elected SEPDM Chair, replacing Hailemariam Desalegn.

EPRDF is made up of four ethnic-based political parties – the Amhara National Democratic Movement, ANDM; the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation, OPDO; the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, SEPDM and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, TPLF. The coalition, which has been in power since 1991 after toppling Mengistu Haile Mariam is now at crossroads due to bitter infighting between reformists and conservatives.

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