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Will we have a PM shortly?

The political arena has been volatile since Prime Minister hailemariam Dessalegn announced his resigned a couple of weeks ago.
Following his resignation the Council of Ministers imposed a second state of emergency just six months after the 10 month old state emergency was lifted by the parliament, while prominent political figures were also freed over the last few weeks. The ratification of the state of emergency by the legislators was one of the most anticipated incidents of the week.
On the public holiday celebrating the Victory of Adwa the parliament endorsed the proclamation by majority vote of the parliament in which all seats are held by the ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its regional party allies.
The process of the parliament’s ratification of the state of emergency proclamation has made the choice of the new PM even more highly anticipated. Political commentators and pundits recalled that it was unusual for the parliament not to unanimously approve the measure. They said that the Friday session of the parliament indicates there is difference between members of the ruling coalition which includes four ethnic based parties from Oromia, Amhara, Tigrai and SNNP.
According to Abadula Gemeda, Speaker of the House, 346 members of the parliament supported the state of emergency proclamation, while 88 members stood against the proclamation and a handful of members abstained. Political commentators said that the standing against such crucial proclamation is a new incident observed at the parliament. They remembered that there are some similar incidents which have occurred in the past few months at the parliament. But they said that the proclamations at the parliament and opposed by significant members previously are not in the same league as the state of emergency law. They said that this makes the assignment of the new PM even more difficult. “The incident that occurred on Friday has made the election of the PM more uncertain since things are going against the culture of the ruling front,” they added. “The Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO) has replaced the prominent and well accepted leader of the party for the sake of attaining the top position in the federal government,” experts said.
OPDO has replaced Lemma Megersa, who served OPDO for two years after replacing Muktar Kedir. He is charismatic and will grab the attention of the public not only in his region but in other parts of the country, according to experts.
Even though Lemma had a lot of support in his party and the public he was replaced by Abiy Ahmed (PhD), another popular leader of OPDO who is also a member of parliament. The power substitution in OPDO directly indicated that the Oromo ethnic party, with the biggest public representation in the country wants to sit at the head of government by replacing the outgoing PM Hailemariam Desalegn. At the same time the Southern People’s Democratic Movement (SPDM) also wants to grab the PM position, according to political commentators. The Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) the other member of EPRDF that represents the second biggest ethnic group in the country is also expected to compete for the premier post.
No party has officially disclosed that they are interested in the premiership, but Lemma has hinted that was replaced as the leader of his party so that they could have a good chance of obtaining the PM position.
Experts that asked not to be mentioned told Capital that the power struggle for the PM position has become very clear. They said that it is also clear that there is not a common consensus within the political elites of the ruling party. They argued that the latest session at the parliament is a good indication that there is no consensus among the ruling front.
They said that this disagreement will delay the assignment of the new PM for an unspecified period.
“Now the appointment of new Prime Minister will be the big topic in the country’s political situation,” they said.
“I believe one thing that if the ruling collation does not come with a common understanding about the next PM, the appointment of the new PM will take time,” an expert told Capital.
The previous collective understanding in the party has not been seen in the past few months, according to experts. They said that the situation being looked at closely since tension increased between the Oromia and Somali regions when the special forces for the Somali region took forceful action along the border areas of Oromia.
“Now the difference between the different groups is wider than the past which makes the assignment of the new PM more difficult,” they said.
They said that the ruling front stated that it would undertake a council meeting, made up of 45 representatives from each of the 45 ethnically based parties. However, nothing has been heard of the outcome of the meeting or even if it has occurred yet or been postponed. They added that the congress expected to be held this month has been postponed for an undefined period. “This shows that things are uncertain and could change at any time,” they added.


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