Ethiopia prepares for PM Hailemariam Desalegn’s return to the presidency

WHO is the front-runner for Ethiopia’s second consecutive term? It certainly sounds like a coronation, especially when activists compare it to the once-in-a-lifetime moves by India and the United States in recent years. Ethiopia’s…

Ethiopia prepares for PM Hailemariam Desalegn’s return to the presidency

WHO is the front-runner for Ethiopia’s second consecutive term? It certainly sounds like a coronation, especially when activists compare it to the once-in-a-lifetime moves by India and the United States in recent years.

Ethiopia’s ruling party named its slate of presidential hopefuls early Friday, paving the way for Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to have a smooth, almost uncontested return to the job he holds as if he was born to it.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn hailed the “impressive gains” made during his first term of office.

Hailemariam has not ruled out another term but not many people, journalists among them, are giving him much of a chance.

He won 80 percent of the vote in 2010, and the current list of presidential hopefuls includes ministers, technocrats and an official, Nassefer Getachew, a crony of Prime Minister Hailemariam.

The choice is a welcome one, given many complaints, including via the WeChat platform, about unfair playing field for all political groups, a report of interference in elections, intimidation and attacks on journalists and activists, and fears that Ethiopia is about to descend into authoritarianism.

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