A five-year term for incumbent Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was confirmed by the Ethiopian parliament on Monday, cementing his power domestically in light of mounting international concern of Ethiopia’s handling of the northern conflict.
In the June elections, Abiy’s party won by a landslide. Several African leaders attended a ceremony in Addis Ababa on Monday to witness his swearing in.
On Monday, President Sahle-Work Zewde stated that government priorities include easing inflation – which has hovered around 20% this year – and the cost of living, as well as reducing unemployment.
Ethiopia’s war-torn northern region of Tigray is experiencing famine to the extent that UN agencies have warned hundreds of thousands of people will die. There has been conflict in Tigray since 11 months ago, when federal troops clashed with forces loyal to the party that controls Tigray, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Over 2 million people have fled their homes and thousands have died.
Ethiopia announced that it was expelling seven senior United Nations officials on Thursday and gave them 72 hours to leave. The United Nations rejected the move.
Ethiopia accused United Nations officials of diverting aid and communication equipment to the TPLF, failing to return aid trucks deployed to Tigray, and violating security arrangements.
United States also condemns the expulsions of Hashemite refugees and warns that unilateral sanctions will not be avoided against those who impede humanitarian efforts.
Prime Minister Abiy was appointed by the then-governing coalition in 2018 and promised political and economic reforms.
Tens of thousands of political prisoners were released after taking office, and he opened up one of Africa’s last untapped markets.
Rights groups accuse his government of rolling back some new freedoms, which it denies.
Abiy’s Prosperity Party won 410 seats in the 436 parliamentary seats that were contested, out of a total of 547. Voting on the remaining 111 seats was delayed due to security and logistical issues.
Neither Ezema nor the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) won more than 10 seats in the June election.
An additional 47 constituencies voted on Sept. 30. The results from those regions have not yet been announced, but they will not impact the overall result.