Ethiopia postpones swearing-in of new Prime MinisterBy ARGAW ASHINE | Thursday, August 23 2012 at 10:09
Ethiopian government has delayed the parliamentary swearing-in of the new prime minister, Mr Hailemariam Desalegn, which was scheduled for Thursday.
The postponement was announced by the government’s Communication Affairs Office.
Ethiopia’s parliamentarians had been summoned from their annual recess for an emergency session but the event was cancelled without any official explanation. No alternative schedule has been issued so far.
Instead, the main function on Thursday (today) will be the State funeral of the late Orthodox Church Patriarch Abune Paulos who died in an Addis Ababa hospital a week ago.
The postponement of the swearing-in ceremony could be a pointer to a power struggle within the ruling party and the inner circle of power following the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Earlier, the government spokesman, Mr Bereket Simon, told to reporters there was “no dispute” on the appointment of Hailemariam Desalegn as the new prime minister, adding that there was “no need” of rushing the swearing-in event.
Mr Bereket underlined there was full consensus among the ruling party coalition members on Meles’ successor.
However, according to the Ethiopian constitution, the new leader is supposed to be sworn in as soon as possible.
The ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) controls 99.6 per cent of the seats in parliament since the 2010 elections.
Upon being sworn in, Hailemariam will serve out the remaining term of prime minister which ends in 2015.
The prime minister-designate is a water engineer and former university lecturer who joined politics in the mid-1990s and was subsequently appointed deputy prime minister and foreign minister by the late Meles.
Meanwhile, Ethiopians across the land continued to mourn their late leader who died on August 20 at the age of 57. The date of the State funeral has yet to be announced.
On Tuesday, neighbouring South Sudan declared three days of national mourning to honour the late Ethiopian leader.
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