Ethiopia Prepares for New Prime Minister as Nation Mourns Meles

Posted August 22nd, 2012 at 9:15 am (UTC-5)
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Ethiopia's parliament is preparing to hold an emergency session to swear in the successor to the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died on Monday.

Parliament is set to meet Thursday to install the new prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who has served as Mr. Meles' deputy since 2010.

Mr. Desalegn is to serve out the remainder of Mr. Meles' term, which ends in 2015.

The body of the leader who ruled and tightly controlled Ethiopia for more than 20 years arrived in Addis Ababa late Tuesday.

Thousands of Ethiopians turned out for the arrival, many wailing, carrying pictures of Mr. Meles and holding up candles.

World leaders remembered Mr. Meles for helping to develop Ethiopia and bring security to the Horn of Africa region. Rights group said he will be remembered for human-rights violations and creating a more repressive government.

The 57-year-old leader died late Monday from an infection while being treated abroad, according Ethiopia's communications minister.

Minister Bereket Simon on Tuesday rejected concerns about a power vacuum resulting from the prime minister's death. He told VOA the country's leadership is united and the government is “strong as ever.”