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Opposition invited for Abiy’s swearing-in

Outgoing, incoming PMs to address House

In an unprecedented show of gesture, the disgruntled opposition camp in Ethiopia has received formal invitation to attend the swearing-in of Abiy Ahmed (PhD), chairman of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), as Prime Minister of the country, scheduled for Monday, April 2, 2018.

The invitation is extended to leaders of all opposition parties registered to operate in Ethiopia and it incorporates formal invitation to attend the dinner ceremony which will be held later that evening at the Grand National Palace. The Office of the House Speaker was the one responsible to send out the invitation to opposition parties to sit in the formal departing and swearing-in ceremony which will be held in parliament that is completely devoid of opposition.

The event itinerary also shows that the outgoing Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn will also address the House marking his formal departure from the position he has held since 2012. The event will also feature the handing over of power from the administration of Hailemariam Dessalegn to that of the PM elect: Abiy Ahmed.

Although the ruling party has made its decision to pick Abiy, 42, to lead the Front for the coming two years, according to the culture of the party the new chairman has to be confirmed by the parliament and swear-in before assuming its role. 

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According to a communication officer with House, Yacob Woldesemayat, the House has already sent-out invitations to many non-parliamentarian personalities including prominent leaders of the opposition political parties. The invitation is not only for the ceremony inside the assembly hall of the house but also for dinner party that is going to be hosted at the Grand National Palace the same day.

The invitation has also been extended to the diplomatic community; religious figures as well as prominent personalities to attend both the power transfer ceremony and dinner party, Yacob told The Reporter.

Sources told The Reporter that the Office of the House Speaker is making all the necessary arrangement in preparation to the event where staffers are instructed to pay attention to every detail of the program. 

The preparation includes taking extra measures to ensure smooth function of the audio-visual system since the event will be televised live to Ethiopians across the country.

It is the first time in the country’s recent history to witness direct power transition from one leader to other without dispute or bloodshed, commentators observe.

With its power granted constitutionally, the PM position holds “the highest” executive powers in Ethiopia’s government system and as chair of the nation’s Council of Ministers.

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are responsible to the HPR. This also includes that members of the Council of Ministers are collectively responsible for all decisions they make as a body. More importantly, the PM is the Chief Executive, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and the Commander-in-Chief of the national armed forces.

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