The ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), elected Hailemariam Desalegn as the new chairman of EPRDF, who will automatically be the Prime Minister. The council also elected Demeke Mekonen chairman of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) as vice chairman of EPRDF. EPRDF started its regular meeting on Friday 14, September 2012, by conducting a minute of silence commemorating the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The meeting completed on Saturday September 15 elects its chairperson and his deputy.
On Saturday September 15, Bereket Simon Government Communications Affairs head said that the new prime minister will announce his cabinet in the near future. He also said that EPRDF came to a decision to limit the chairman’s term to two. Bereket further added that Hailemariam will be sworn in when parliament starts its session to make his appointment official.
Bereket also said that the two officials are the new generation elites that goes with EPRDF’s succession plan.
Hailemariam is the chairman of one of the four parties of EPRDF South Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM), which was a coalition of 20 parties. The movement joined EPRDF in 1992. Hailemariam was born in 1965 in Wolayita Zone southern Ethiopia. Hailemariam a graduate from the Addis Ababa University in civil engineering, has worked as a graduate assistant in Arba Minch Water Technology Institute (now Arba Minch University). After two years, he went to Tampere University of Technology in Finland, Helsinki, where he earned his master’s degree in sanitation engineering. Upon his return to Ethiopia, he served in different academic and administrative capacities, including the dean of the Water Technology Institute, for 13 years. In between, he also earned an MA in Organizational Leadership at Azusa Pacific University, California, US.
Hailemariam’s deputy Demeke Mekonen is also chairman of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM). Demeke is currently serving as Minister of Education.
During Friday’s meeting chaired by Hailemariam Desalegn the council discussed and approved the draft agenda. According to EPRDF’s official website one of the items put up for discussion was “let us strive to realize the visions of Meles/EPRDF by ensuring the practical sovereignty of the developmental democratic outlook” that focused on continuing the achievements gained by the leadership of the organization and the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as withstanding the subsequent challenges.
The council also discussed the document entitled “building the leadership and the stride of the Renaissance,” which was prepared and talked about by the Executive Committee earlier, in the presence of the late Prime Minister.
As indicated in the ruling party’s website the third item on the agenda includes activities of development, good-governance as well as political and organizational activities that should be carried out by the government and organizational sectors.
In its discussion the council evaluated the conditions in Ethiopia, the region and in other parts of the world after the death of PM Meles.
“Based on this we are deliberating about how we can continue to strengthen the developmental-democratic system which should be conducted in a strengthened manner in our country”, reads a statement by EPRDF.
“Accordingly, the meeting has reached an agreement discussing the directions and the tactics that enable us to continue the launched developmental and democratic stride of Renaissance by the participation of the entire members and supporters of the struggle as well as the entire people of Ethiopia, who are the owners and beneficiaries of reform”, the statement further announced.