ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA [SMN] — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been sworn in for a second five-year term running a country in the grip of a nearly year-long war.
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 electoral observers as better run than those in the past.
The prime minister, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner for restoring ties with neighboring Eritrea and for pursuing sweeping political reforms, now faces major challenges as war in the Tigray region spreads into other parts of the country, deadly ethnic violence continues and watchdogs warn that repressive government practices are on the return.
The 11-month war is weakening Ethiopia’s economy, once one of Africa’s fastest-growing, and threatening to isolate Abiy, once seen as a regional peacemaker. Just three African heads of state — from Nigeria, Senegal and neighboring Somalia — attended Monday’s ceremony.
Ethiopia’s government last week faced condemnation from the United Nations, United States and several European nations after it expelled seven U.N. officials it accused of supporting the Tigray forces who have been battling Ethiopian and allied forces.