Ethiopia’s legislature has elected young and outspoken Abiy Amhed as prime minister, amid hopes that he will be able to quell sustained anti-government protests in Africa’s second most populous nation.
Abiy was immediately sworn in to office Monday, succeeding Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned in mid-February as a result of widespread anti-government protests which claimed the lives of several hundred people mainly in the restive Oromia and Amhara regions.
Abiy is the first Oromo politician to become Ethiopia’s prime minister and it is hoped he will be able to bring an end to the protests raging since late 2015 to press for wider political freedoms and the release of opposition figures. The Oromo people, the largest ethnic group of Ethiopia’s 100 million people, have long felt marginalised both politically and economically.
Abiy, 42, a former lieutenant colonel in the army and head of Ethiopia’s Science and Technology ministry, has a reputation as an effective orator and reformer.
Abiy will be Ethiopia’s third prime minister since the former military junta, the Derg, was overthrown in 1991.
Ethiopia in February declared its second state of emergency in two years amid the ongoing protests that effectively crippled transportation networks and forced the closure of businesses.
On Saturday, Ethiopian officials said more than 1000 people had been detained since the latest emergency rule was put in place.
© AP 2018
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