Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ethiopia ruling party to choose Meles successor by Saturday


(AFP) ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia's ruling coalition will hold a meeting of its governing council Friday and Saturday to choose its new leader to succeed former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died last month, it said in a statement.
"The council assigns the chairperson of the organisation that replaces our great leader, who departed from us suddenly," said a statement Thursday on the website of the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition.
During his 21 years in power, Meles was both EPRDF chairman and prime minister.
Government spokesman Bereket Simon told AFP that "automatically the chairperson will be the prime minister."
However while this was the case under Meles, there is nothing to say that it will remain the same following his death, said a western diplomatic source in Addis Ababa.
After Meles's death, deputy prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn was quickly named interim prime minister and presented by the government as the natural successor to the long-time ruler, who had groomed Hailemariam as his heir.
Parliament, however, has not yet reconvened to confirm Hailemariam as the country's new leader.
An extraordinary session of parliament set for the end of August was cancelled and government spokesman Bereket told AFP that there was "no hurry" to reconvene the legislative body.
"There is no reason it will do it (reopen) before the last Monday of September," Bereket said.