VOA- Ethiopia has delayed plans to swear in Hailemariam Desalegn as the new prime minister, following Monday’s death of Meles Zenawi.
Parliament had been expected to hold an emergency session Thursday to install Mr. Desalegn. He had served as Mr. Meles’ deputy since 2010.
However, the government communications office issued a statement late Wednesday saying the session had been canceled. There was no immediate word on what prompted the delay or when an installation will take place.
Crowds of mourners gathered outside of the presidential palace in Addis Ababa Wednesday to pay their respects to Mr. Meles. The 57-year-old leader died from an infection while being treated abroad.
On Tuesday, Communications Minister Bereket Simon rejected concerns about a power vacuum resulting from Mr. Meles’ death. He told VOA the country’s leadership is united and the government is as “strong as ever.”
Mr. Meles ruled and tightly controlled Ethiopia for more than 20 years.
Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s New Leader, May Not Be In Place For Long
HuffingtonPost- ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The death of Ethiopia’s prime minister pushed his relatively unknown successor, Hailemariam Desalegn, into the spotlight on Tuesday, and he may be merely a placeholder or might hang on to become Ethiopia’s next long-time leader.
Ethiopia’s communication minister said government policy would remain consistent under Hailemariam, the former deputy prime minister and foreign minister who is now acting prime minister pending his swearing-in before an emergency session of parliament. The ruling party controls 546 of the 547 seats of parliament, all but ensuring Hailemariam’s ascension to prime minister.
The country’s armed forces pledged allegiance to the country’s constitution and vowed to defend it during the post-Meles Zenawi era. Meles died Monday of an unknown illness at age 57. He had ruled Ethiopia since the 1990s.
Hailemariam was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in September 2010, right after the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front’s fourth successive election victory. A few weeks after the vote the party’s congress promoted Hailemariam as a deputy chair of the party.
Although Hailemariam appears likely to soon take the oath of prime minister, the ruling party congress is scheduled to meet in late September and will decide if he will remain in the post until the 2015 elections. Political observers say the party congress could see fierce competition for the post. One analyst said he doubted Hailemariam could win over the military and intelligence leaders.
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