ADDIS ABABA, — Ethiopia’s legislature has elected young and outspoken Abiy Amhed as prime minister of Africa’s second most populous nation, following his nomination by the ruling party last week.
Abiy was immediately sworn in to office Monday, succeeding Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned in mid-February as a result of sustained anti-government protests that claimed the lives of several hundred people, mainly in the restive Oromia and Amhara regions.
Abiy is the first Oromo politician to become Ethiopia’s prime minister and it is hoped he will be able to quell the protests raging since late 2015 to press for wider political freedoms. The Oromo people, the largest ethnic group of Ethiopia’s 100 million people, complain of being politically and economically marginalized.
Abiy, 42, has a reputation as an effective orator and reformer.