In a bid to fill the party chairmanship left vacant with the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Southern Ethiopia Peoples’ Democratic Movement (SEPDM) elected Shiferaw Shigute as its chair after a 24 days lengthy meeting which was concluded on February 26, 2018. The party also removed Dessie Dalke, the president of the regional government, from deputy chairmanship and replaced him with the defense minister Siraj Fegessa.
Hailemariam, the departing prime minister, has been chair of both the coalition – the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) as well as his home party the SEPDM.
Shiferaw has been the head of the secretariat of the EPRDF which he joined after he was removed from his ministerial position at the Ministry of Education.
It was not the prime minister’s post and the party chairmanship that the resignation of Hailemariam left vacant, but also the membership of the executive committee of the EPRDF which is comprised of 36 members – nine from each member party. Hence, the SEPDM replaced Hailemariam with Teshome Toga to be member of the executive committee of the alliance. It also brought Moges Balcha in place of Shiferaw Teklemariam who was appointed as Ambassador last year to Pretoria, South Africa.
SEPDM became the last party to announce the change of guards at the top of the party echelons following the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) who announced the retention of the existing chair Demeke Mekonnen and the deputy chair Gedu Andargachew. Demeke is also the deputy prime minister while Gedu is serving the presidency of the Amhara regional government.
Before the announcement by the ANDM, the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) pronounced chairmanship reshuffle bringing Abiy Ahmed (PhD) to the chairmanship. Lemma Megerssa handed the baton over to Abiy and stepped down to hold the deputy chairmanship position of the party. Lemma will remain president of the regional government, as stated by the party communiqué released after the reshuffle.
The fourth member of the coalition, the Tigriyan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) reshuffled its leadership some three months ago replacing both its chairman and deputy chairman with new faces. Debretsion Gebremicharl (PhD) clinched the chairmanship of the party replacing Abay Woldu while Fetlework Gebreegziabher became the deputy chair of the party.
After the completion of the election of party chairs in all of the four parties, the next most anticipated move is the nomination of chair to the coalition who would eventually become the prime minister of the Federation.