Ethiopia rules out new election, says in control after Meles deathBy ARGAW ASHINE | Tuesday, August 21 2012 at 11:45
Ethiopia will not hold an election following the death of long-term prime minister Meles Zenawi, the government has said.
The government has also sought to downplay fears of an internal scramble for power following Mr Meles' death, whose term was to expire in 2015.
Government spokesman Bereket Simon said that the ruling party was in full control and that there would be continuity.
"There is no worry in the country. Mr Meles' legacy will continue. The situation is calm and composed," he said in a press conference in Addis Ababa Tuesday.
Mr Bereket added there would be no change of policy and strategy after the death of Mr Meles, who has tightly ruled the Horn of Africa country for 21 years.
Parliament, currently on recess, will be shortly recalled and Mr Hailemariam Desalegn sworn in as the interim prime minister with limited power delegation, the spokesman said.
Mr Hailemariam has been the deputy prime minister and also the country's foreign affairs minister.
The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of parties that controls 99.6 per cent of parliament, will then meet later to pick a new leader.
The statement could dash the hopes of opposition groups who had hoped that a window for an all-inclusive political leadership would open.
There have been fears of an ethnic-based competition for power within the ruling party after Mr Meles dropped out of sight two months ago.
His Tigrian People Liberation Front, one of the four parties under the EPRDF, represents five per cent of Ethiopia's 85 million population but controls all major military and intelligence positions.
Mr Bereket said the premier's body would be brought back to Ethiopia but did not give details of where Mr Meles was being treated or died.
His wife and children have been with him abroad.
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