Ethiopia: Parliament session on Meles succession delayed

Ethiopia's Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at a news conference in Addis Ababa on 17 August 2012 Officials say the appointment of Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is not in dispute

Related Stories

A special session of Ethiopia's parliament arranged in order to endorse the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's successor has been postponed.

No reason has not been given for the delay. But officials say the appointment of Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is not in dispute.

Mr Meles, 57, died suddenly on Monday from an infection while being treated in hospital in Brussels.

His body has been lying in state at the national palace in the capital.

A state of national mourning has been declared but no date for the funeral has been set.

Mr Meles has been praised for bringing development and economic growth to Ethiopia, but critics say they came at the cost of respect for plurality and human rights.

Meles Zenawi

Meles Zenawi (L) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair listen to South African President Thabo Mbeki address the closing press conference of the Progressive Governance Summit in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, 12 February 2006
  • Emerged from Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which carried out armed struggle against communist military regime in 1970s and 1980s
  • Became president in a transitional government in 1991 and then prime minister in 1995
  • Married another TPLF veteran, Azeb Mesfin, and had three children
  • Under his leadership, a closed and secretive country gradually opened to the outside world
  • But reputation tarnished in 2000s amid increasing repression in Ethiopia

He had not been seen in public for weeks before his death was announced, and there had been increasingly intense speculation about his health - though authorities insist he had been on the road to recovery when he was suddenly struck down by an infection.

There is still no confirmation of the details of his medical condition.

Mr Hailemariam was appointed deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister in 2010.

State media say he will take over until elections in 2015.

The BBC's Peter Biles says there is intense interest about Mr Meles' succession, because he had been at the helm of Ethiopia's government for 21 years.

The Brussels-based think tank, the Crisis Group, has voiced concern about political transition in Ethiopia.

It says Mr Meles's successor will lead a weaker regime facing mounting grievances along ethnic and religious lines and a likely increase in radicalism.

World leaders have paid tribute to Mr Meles for leading Ethiopia to an impressive era of economic growth but human rights groups say the new leadership now has an opportunity to usher in a fresh spirit of political tolerance lacking during Mr Meles's rule.

Analysts point out that Ethiopia plays a key role in the Horn of Africa, not only facing down its own rebels fighting for greater autonomy in the south-eastern ethnic Somali region, but supporting the fight against al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab rebels in Somalia.

Mr Meles also carved out a major role for himself in Africa and internationally, mediating in the conflict in Sudan and South Sudan and taking a leading position in the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features

  • RihannaCloud caution

    After celebrity leaks, what can you do to safeguard your photos?


  • Cesc FabregasFair price?

    Have some football clubs overpaid for their new players?


  • Woman and hairdryerBlow back

    Would banning high-power appliances actually save energy?


  • Rack of lambFavourite feast

    Is the UK unusually fond of lamb and potatoes?


  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.