By Ebi Kesiena
Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has been sworn in for a new five-year term as his government faces a host of challenges, including a month-long conflict in the northern region of Tigray.
Abiy took the oath of office, administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi on Monday, following similar oaths by the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Parliament’s Lower House.
Abiy’s Prosperity Party was declared the winner of Parliamentary elections earlier this year in a vote criticised and, at times, boycotted by opposition parties but described by some outside electoral observers as better run than those in the past.
“I, Abiy Ahmed Ali, today in the House of People’s Representatives, accept the appointment as prime minister, as I pledge to undertake responsibly and with faith to the constitution the responsibility placed upon me by the people,” he said.
In June, the Prime Minister’s party won 410 of the 436 parliamentary seats that were contested.
Three regions where elections had been delayed voted last month. Voting did not take place in the northern Tigray region which is under the control of regional forces opposed to the government in Addis Ababa.
The election marked the first time Abiy faced voters since he was appointed Prime Minister in 2018, following several years of anti-government protests.
The Prime Minister, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner for restoring ties with neighbouring Eritrea and for pursuing sweeping political reforms, now faces major challenges.
According to reports, Ethiopians want Abiy to prioritise improving the security situation in the country.
Many Ethiopians are saying they want the prime minister to deal with the security situation. The conflict in Tigray is getting out of hands. The conflict has spread to the Amhara and Afar regions. There are ethnic conflicts in several parts of the country as well and the economy of the country is also struggling.
The 11-month Tigray conflict is weakening Ethiopia’s economy, once one of Africa’s fastest growing, and threatening to isolate Abiy, once seen as a regional peacemaker.
It is unclear whether Abiy’s swearing-in will alter the course of the war pitting government forces against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, TPLF rebel group, which dominated national politics before he took power.