Ethiopia will have a Muslim Prime Minister by close of this week according to a pro-government blogger, Daniel Berhane.
The 180-member Council of the ruling Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is currently meeting to review its activities and to elect a new Prime Minister.
Berhane said in a tweet, “By the end of the week, Ethiopia will have her first Muslim Prime Minister and a deputy from SNNPR. That is to say, Demeke Mekonen and Shiferaw Shigute.”
Per his prediction, the current deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonen of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) will fill the vacuum left by Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned his post on February 15 in a move to allow for promised reforms to take place.
Ethiopia’s new deputy Prime Minister Mekonnen Demeke (L) takes the oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony in Addis Ababa September 21, 2012.
It also means that the current leader of Desalegn’s party – the Southern Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM) , Shiferaw Shigute, will replace Mekonen as deputy PM. Shigute is currently working with the EPRDF secretariat and previously served as Education minister.
Whoever of the seven candidates being mentioned gets the slot will have to deal with political discontent that has led to protests in the two largest regions – Amhara and Oromia. He will also have to follow through with promised reforms at the heart of which is opening up the democratic space.
It effectively means that the Oromo bloc in the coalition will yet again miss out on a position they had made strategic changes to secure for the first time. The Oromo Peoples Democratic Front (OPDO) tweaked its leadership last month replacing the regional president.
The party replaced Lemma Megerssa with Dr Abiy Ahmed – a strategic move according to political watchers as it eyed the PM vacancy.
Aside the OPDO, ANDM and SEPDM, the other party in the coalition is the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), accused severally of holding on to top positions in government.
The last two Premiers have come from the TPLF and SEPDM. The late Meles Zenawi was in charge from 1995 till his death in August 2012. Desalegn (as head of SEPDM) took over in September 2012 till his resignation in February 2018.