Abiy’s Prosperity Party was declared the winner in parliamentary elections held earlier this year.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is sworn in for a new five-year term as his government faces many challenges, including a months-long conflict in the northern Tigray region.
Abiy was sworn in, administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi, on Monday following similar oaths taken by the president and vice-president of the lower house of parliament.
“I, Abiy Ahmed Ali, today in the House of People’s Representatives, accept the nomination as Prime Minister, because I commit myself to assume responsibly and faithfully to the constitution the responsibility which is mine. entrusted by the people, ”he declared.
Abiy’s Prosperity Party was declared the winner of parliamentary elections earlier this year in a vote criticized and, at times, boycotted by opposition parties, but described by some outside election observers as better led than those in the pass.
In June, the Prime Minister’s party won 410 of the 436 contested parliamentary seats.
Three regions where elections were postponed voted last month. The vote did not take place in the northern Tigray region which is under the control of regional forces opposed to the Addis Ababa government.
The election marked the first time Abiy has faced voters since he was appointed prime minister in 2018 after several years of anti-government protests.
The prime minister, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for reestablishing ties with neighboring Eritrea and pursuing sweeping political reforms, now faces major challenges.
Catherine Soi of Al Jazeera, reporting from Nairobi in neighboring Kenya, said the Ethiopians wanted Abiy to prioritize improving the security situation in the country.
“Many Ethiopians say they want the Prime Minister to deal with the security situation. The conflict in Tigray is spiraling out of control. The conflict spread to the regions of Amhara and Afar. There are also ethnic conflicts in several regions of the country. The country’s economy is also struggling, ”Soi said.
The 11-month-long conflict in Tigray is weakening the Ethiopian economy, once one of Africa’s most dynamic, and threatening to isolate Abiy, once considered a regional peacemaker.
Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict and hundreds of thousands have faced starvation conditions, according to the UN.
It is not known whether Abiy’s swearing-in will change the course of the war between government forces and the rebel group Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), which dominated national politics before coming to power.
Abiy’s office, which accuses the rebels of starting the war last November with attacks on federal army camps, said some conciliation measures, such as declassifying the TPLF as a terrorist group, can only happen after the formation of a new government.
“The position has been that any change in approach to the conflict with Tigray forces can only happen after a new government is formed,” said William Davison, Ethiopia’s senior analyst for International Crisis. Group.
International partners like the United States, which have threatened to impose targeted conflict-related sanctions, “will take a close look to see if there is a change in position,” Davison told AFP news agency. .
Only three African heads of state – from Nigeria, Senegal and neighboring Somalia – attended Monday’s ceremony. A mass rally in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, attended by dignitaries, including the presidents of the three African countries, was scheduled for the afternoon.
“The road ahead can be daunting, but we won’t tire of it,” Abiy’s senior advisor Mamo Mihretu said on Twitter.
Last week, the Ethiopian government was condemned by the United Nations, the United States and several European countries after expelling seven UN officials it accused of supporting Tigray forces fighting Ethiopian and allied forces.