A 27-member interim regional executive was formed Wednesday to run Tigray as part of a peace process launched in November to end the brutal conflict in the northern Ethiopian region.
Tigray's official television station, Tigrai TV, published the list of the team, which includes a number of Tigrayan generals and several figures from the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that ran the region's institutions before taking up arms against the federal government in November 2020.
In March, the TPLF appointed one of its top leaders, Getachew Reda, to head the region's interim government under the November 2 peace agreement signed in Pretoria. This choice was endorsed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Debretsion Gebremichael, who had been president of the region since January 2018 and is not included in the new team, formally passed the torch to Getachew Reda on Wednesday at a ceremony in Mekele, the capital of Tigray, according to Tigrai TV.
"Members of the Tigray interim government, you have been given the responsibility to play a role in the peaceful stage of the struggle to ensure the security and interests of the people of Tigray," said Debretsion Gebremichael, TPLF chairman since 2017.
The number two in the interim regional government is General Tadesse Worede, head of the Tigray forces during the conflict: he is appointed vice president of the region, in charge of Peace and Security.
He was the military chief of the TPLF when it was a rebel group fighting the Derg military-Marxist regime, and became chief of staff of the federal Ethiopian army in the 1990s and 2000s when the TPLF was all-powerful in Ethiopia. general Tsadkan Gebretensae, the strategist of the Tigrayan forces, has been appointed head of the Department of Democratization and Decentralized Governance, and the third-ranking executive officer.
The previous regional government was considered "illegal" by Addis Ababa because it was the result of legislative elections held in 2020 in Tigray, despite the postponement by the federal authorities of all polls in Ethiopia due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
After months of tension, Abiy Ahmed sent the federal army to remove the leaders of Tigray on November 4, 2020, accusing regional forces of attacking federal bases in the region.
In 2021, at the height of the war, the TPLF was listed as a terrorist entity by the Ethiopian authorities, who removed it from the list on March 22, in accordance with the peace agreement.
The TPLF effectively ruled Ethiopia for three decades before being gradually marginalized when Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, following several months of popular protest.