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Ethiopia’s ruling EPRDF sets Congress date, new PM latest March 3

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, the Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has set a date for its much awaited congress, local media portal, the Addis Standard reports.

The EPRDF’s Council is expected to begin its meeting on Thursday March 1, 2018. The gathering is supposed to run for three days at the end of which the country’s new Prime Minister should be elected.

The Addis Standard quotes an inside source as stating that if all goes as planned, the new head of government will be known latest by Saturday March 3, 2018. Under Ethiopia’s political structure the Prime Minister heads government business despite the presence of a president.

The 180-member Council comprises 45 members from each of the four constituent parties. The meeting will evaluate the party’s six-month performance report, approve the resignation of PM Hailemariam Desalegn and then vote his replacement into office.

Desalegn resigned his post on January in mid-February stating that his decision was to ensure that reforms announced in January can be fully pursued. Though the party has accepted his resignation, he remains in charge till his replacement is picked.

Ahead of the Council meeting, the powerful 36-member EPRDF Executive Committee will meet over three-days starting Monday February 26, 2018.

The Ex-Co meeting is expected to map out how the Council’s meeting will proceed.

There is talk that the new Prime Minister will be from the Oromo bloc, the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO).

The party recently replaced its leader Lemma Megerssa with Dr Abiy Ahmed – a strategic move as it positions to pick the PM slot for the first time.

The other parties in the EPRDF are: the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Southern Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM).

The last two Premiers have come from the TPLF (Meles Zenawi) who was in charge from 1995 till his death in August 2012.

Desalegn (head of SEPDM) took over in September 2012 till his resignation in February 2018. The current deputy PM is Demeke Mekonnen from the ANDM.

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