News / Africa

Ethiopia Delays Installation of New Prime Minister

Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, middle, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during an official function (file photo)
Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, middle, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during an official function (file photo)
VOA News
Ethiopia has delayed plans to swear in Hailemariam Desalegn as the new prime minister, following Monday's death of Meles Zenawi.

Parliament had been expected to hold an emergency session Thursday to install Desalegn. He had served as Meles' deputy since 2010.

However, the government communications office issued a statement late Wednesday saying the session had been canceled. There was no immediate word on what prompted the delay or when an installation will take place.

Crowds of mourners gathered outside of the presidential palace in Addis Ababa Wednesday to pay their respects to Meles. The 57-year-old leader died from an infection while being treated abroad.

On Tuesday, Communications Minister Bereket Simon rejected concerns about a power vacuum resulting from Meles' death.  He told VOA the country's leadership is united and the government is as "strong as ever."

Meles ruled and tightly controlled Ethiopia for more than 20 years.

  • The casket containing the body of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives at the Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, August 22, 2012.
  • The body of Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is escorted upon arrival in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa early August 22, 2012.
  • Ethiopian women in black gather to mourn as the body of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrived in Addis Ababa, August 22, 2012.
  • Ethiopians carry posters in Amharic reading "Meles We Love You" as they gather to mourn as the body of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrived in Addis Ababa, August 22, 2012.
  • Ethiopian national flags fly at half mast in Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
  • Officials move a portrait of Meles shortly after the announcement of his death in Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
  • Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon (R) makes the official announcement of Meles' death in Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Meles at the London Conference on Somalia, February 23, 2012.
  • The late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives with his wife Azeb Mesfi for the 18th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, January 29, 2012.
  • Meles speaks to reporters after meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in Cairo, Egypt, September 17, 2011.
  • Meles and other world leaders pose during a group photo at the G20 summit in Toronto, Canada, June 27, 2010.
  • Meles lifts his cap to salute supporters of the EPRDF party at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, May 25, 2010.
  • A poster featuring the prime minister displayed in downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 2010.
  • U.S. President George W. Bush chats with Meles during a meeting with Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi for talks on combatting international terrorism, the White House, Washington, December 5, 2002.
  • German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder welcomes Meles to Berlin, Germany, February 5, 2002.
  • Meles and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow, Russia, December 3, 2001.
  • UN Secretary General Kofi Annan with Meles before their meeting in the office of the prime minister in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 30, 1998.
  • Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity, meets with Meles in Addis Ababa, June 28, 1995.
  • Meles accompanies Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as he arrives at Addis Ababa's African Hall to attend a meeting, June 26, 1995.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: Dawoud Sulayman from: North Gondar, Debark
September 12, 2012 12:43 PM

Our, precious Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi was extremely a great leader, considerate, intelligent, etc....what a pity we lost him unexpectedly and his death broke my heart deeply. How ever we will do every thing what he has started to put our country in one of the fast growing countries in economy and other related good things. I wish his soul to be kept in peace

by: Asim F Ahmed from: Sudan Khartoum
August 23, 2012 8:42 AM
Meles Zenawi one of the strong and great leader in Africa and East Africa, he was very dedicated to pan-Americanism
. we will remember him for the great effort he put in to transforming the Ethiopian economy.

We looking from the new prime minister and the ruling party to work hard for the stability of Ethiopia and the region after his death, Allah bless him.

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