Ethiopia’s New Prime Minister, The Story of a Historic and Peaceful Transition of Power


Somalilandsun- In recent weeks, an extraordinary set of meetings, involving members of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary   Democratic   Front   (EPRDF),   have been taking place in Addis Ababa. The meetings, of both the Executive Committee and the Council of the Front, have spent the last few weeks deliberating on the  current  state  of  affairs  in  the  country  while appraising the progress of the  government’s  reform  agenda.

In light of the announcement of the resignation of former   Prime   Minister   Hailemariam   Dessalegn earlier this year, the election of a new chairperson to  lead  the  Front  was  part  of  the  agenda  for  the meeting of the EPRDF’s Council in the last week of March.   Following   the   official   acceptance   of   Mr Dessalegn’s  resignation,  the  election  of  the  new Chairman  was  conducted  in  a  fair,  participatory, democratic and transparent manner in line with the Front’s  longstanding  rules  and  procedures.  As  an illustration  of  the  growing  maturity  of  Ethiopia’s nascent   democratic   culture,   candidates   for   the position     were     transparently     nominated     and rigorously appraised before voting was conducted by secret ballot.

Election of New Premier Represents Major
Milestone for Ethiopia’s Democracy as Abiy takes over from Desalegn

The Council, comprised of members from the four constituent parties of the Front, duly elected Dr Abiy Ahmed as the third Chairperson in the Front’s history

Following  this  election,  the  Front,  in  accordance with the Constitution, submitted Dr Abiy Ahmed’s candidacy  for  the  post  of  Prime  Minister  to  the House  of  Peoples  Representatives  (HoPR),  which subsequently endorsed his appointment as the new Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic. This appointment, which represents a peaceful and constitutional  transfer  of power  from  one head of government to another, is a watershed moment in the history of Ethiopia. In this respect, the voluntary resignation of the former Prime Minister to enable the reform process cannot be underestimated! The actions   of   Mr   Hailemariam   Dessalegn   are   as unprecedented as they are praiseworthy – ushering in a new era in the country’s politics.

Many regard the appointment of Dr Abiy Ahmed as an  “aha!”  moment  –  a  golden  opportunity  for  the ruling  Front  to  find  calibrated  responses  to  the complex     challenges     facing     the     nation.     By confronting these challenges with the fresh energy, perspective and approach offered in the election of a   new   leader,   the   Government   can   and   will accelerate  the  pace of  the  comprehensive  reforms being demanded by the public.

As laid out in his inaugural speech, the new premier and      his      government      will      prioritise:      the implementation  of  democratic  reforms  aimed  at widening the political space for opposition parties and  civil  society;  the  encouragement  of  greater political participation among young people and the empowerment  of  women;  the  realisation  of  good governance  and  social  justice  across  society;  the offering  of  greater  economic  opportunities  to  the youth,   ensuring   its   inclusivity   in   the   country’s development; the curbing of maladministration and corrupt practices at all levels; the improvement of the standard and quality of education – the key to any country’s prosperity; the promotion of deeper engagement and participation by Ethiopians abroad in      the      country’s      development;      and      the establishment of an environment conducive to the growth of more independent and free media.

On   the   country’s   foreign   relations,   the   Prime Minister committed his government to building on the  constructive  relations  Ethiopia  enjoys  with  all neighbouring  countries  –  thereby  upholding  the country’s longstanding strategy of working towards collective goals and mutual benefits in the spirit of equality  and  partnership.  He  went  on  to  affirm Ethiopia’s obligations to: the maintenance of peace and security and the acceleration of development in the   Horn   of   Africa;   the   strengthening   of   the country’s role at the African Union and as a voice for the   continent   at   the   United   Nations   and   other international organisations  and fora. The Premier, finally,  expressed  the  readiness  of  the  Ethiopian Government to play its part in finding a peaceful and constructive resolution to the dispute with the State of Eritrea.

With  the  peaceful  transfer  of  power,  Ethiopia  has crossed   yet   another   important   threshold   in   its journey as a nascent constitutional democracy. The optimism     and     hope     that     has     greeted     the inauguration  of  the  new  Prime  Minister,  far  from being   misplaced   or   premature,   is   befitting   the beginning of a new era in the country’s democratic developmental   story.   Indeed,   this   is   that   rare occasion  where  the  word ‘milestone’  truly  fits  the bill.

New and youthful Ethiopia Prime minister Abiy Ahmed

This piece is contained in Monthly Publication from the Ethiopian Embassy in London for the March 2018

Other items in the issue include

  1. Ethiopia joins African countries in historic intra-Africa trade agreement
  2. Embassy staff commemorate Women’s Day
  3. 7th anniversary of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam celebrated
  4. Blueprint for wind power expansion launched
  5. EthioChicken wins FT’s Boldness in Business Award: Exclusive Interview
  6. Ethiopian Airlines announce three additional flights from Heathrow to Addis
  7. Why Lalibela, Ethiopia Is the Next Machu Picchu and
  8. Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams makes London premiere

Click to read The Monthly Publication of Ethiopian Embassy in London NewsletterMarch2018