Members of Ethiopia’s House of Federation, the upper chamber of the country’s parliament, voted on Wednesday, June 10, in favor of retaining Abiy Ahmed’s position as prime minister after his mandate expires in October. The vote was held owing to a delay of elections originally scheduled for August due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This development has inflamed ongoing tensions between Abiy’s ruling Prosperity Party and various opposition parties, many of whom represent specific ethnic groups who have chafed at the prime minister’s attempts at political reform.
Abiy rejected a proposal to form a transitional government
This decision by the House of Federation comes just two days after Abiy rejected a proposal to form a transitional government brought forward by members of the opposition, who claim the prime minister is using the pandemic to extend his stay in power. Dawud Ibsa Ayana, head of the Oromo Liberation Front, decried the vote extending Abiy’s mandate as having “no constitutional basis”, and is expected to release a formal statement against the vote in the coming days.