ADDIS ABABA(ANN) Ethiopians will soon learn the identity of their new prime minister. The ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), is having a council meeting on Friday and Saturday in Addis Ababa.
The council, the highest organ of the EPRDF after the general assembly, will decide who the new chairperson of the party will be. The chairperson will most likely become the new leader of the East African country.
Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was supposed to be sworn in right after the death of former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi last month. It is still believed that the council will choose Hailemariam as the chairperson, but local newspapers report that that the EPRDF will appoint three deputy prime ministers.
Dr. Negaso Gidada, the former Ethiopian president who was part of drafting the Ethiopian constitution, is currently an opposition leader and says that having three deputies would be unconstitutional.
“You can refer to article 75 of the constitution which speaks about DPM. Whatever the case, the constitution speaks of only one DPM, not two or three more. If it is true, it means the EPRDF is continuing its violation of the constitution and that it’s not leading the country
according to the constitution,” he said.
Negaso feels the EPRDF was already in violation of the constitution by delaying the appointment of the deputy prime minister.
But the delay might also explain Ethiopia’s changing power politics says veteran political scientist Medhane Tadesse.
“There will be a return to a collective kind of leadership. Which means that decision making in Ethiopia is probably now back to the collective mode,” said Medhane. “Another major change in Ethiopia after Meles will be the distribution of power so probably also to compensate for the lost of Meles. I think its imperative that they distribute power and delegate it to as many people as possible. In a way this is more useful and visible in the Ethiopian context and probably also the right thing to do.”
EPRDF council members chose not to comment before the meeting was over. A statement on the newly elected chairman is expected to be released this weekend, but the ather source said EPRDF counci the new chairperson of the party elected senior diplomat frorian Minister Seyoum Musfin.
Ethiopia’s ruling party is holding a meeting in the capital to elect a chairman to succeed the late prime minister Meles Zenawi.
Meles, 57, died on August 20 of an unknown illness. The person elected to succeed him in the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front will almost automatically become prime minister, because the ruling party holds an overwhelming majority in parliament.
Meles ruled the country since 1991, assuming both the chairmanship of the ruling and the country’s premiership.
Sekoture Getachew, the party’s foreign relations head, says the party’s 180-member council will also elect a new deputy chairperson.
The party’s current deputy chair and Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to be named Meles’ successor.
Hailemariam took over as acting prime minister immediately after Meles’ death.