Ethiopia's Ruling Party Chooses Abiy Ahmed to Lead the Party

Photo: Wikipedia
Abiy Ahmed.

After two years of unrest, the prime minister of second-most populous nation resigned. Activists hope Abiy Ahmed represents a new direction for the government, but some analysts aren't so sure.

Abiy Ahmed was chosen by Ethiopia's ruling coalition on Tuesday to lead the party, meaning he will likely be become the country's new prime minister.

He will take control of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), filling the gap left when Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation last month.

"The EPRDF council has elected Dr. Abiy Ahmed as the leader of the party," the government-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said.

Ethnic first for the party

Abiy will be the first person from the Oromo ethnic group -- the country's largest -- to lead the party in its 27-year-history.

His appointment comes after two years of sporadic and deadly protests against the government, focusing initially on land rights before expanding to political and human rights issues.

The protests initially consisted of Oromo activists before the country's second-largest ethnic group the Amharas joined the uprising. Hailemariam resigned to pave the way for reforms.

Abiy took more than 60 percent of the vote from the 180-member committee of EPRDF elites, according to state-affiliated news outlets.

Hopes for reform

Activists hope he will reform the party, which along with its allies controls every government seat.

"He faces the tasks of widening political space and reaching out to the opposition. He will also have to respond to popular demands," Asnake Kefale, an assistant professor of political science at Addis Ababa University, told Reuters news agency.

But some analysts cite Abiy's military background, and his alleged use of spyware against expat dissidents while director of the Information Network Security Agency, as evidence that he isn't a reformer.

Legislative elections have been scheduled for 2020.

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

(AP, AFP, Reuters)

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Deutsche Welle

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.