Ethiopia’s Prime Minister names opposition politicians in new cabinet

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday re-nominated his finance and foreign affairs to remain in his new cabinet, but shuffled other positions to include leaders from small opposition parties.

Three ministerial positions have gone to figures from opposition parties.

Berhanu Nega – the leader of the Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice party, which won a few seats in the election – has been appointed minister of education.

He once founded an outlawed rebel group, and first rose to prominence in controversial and bloody elections in 2005 when his then party won an unprecedented high number of seats.

Belete Molla – the head of the National Movement of the Amhara (NaMA) – has been appointed minister of innovation and technology.

Kejela Merdasa – from the once-banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – has been given the post of minister of culture and sport.

One notable appointment from Mr Abiy’s Prosperity Party (PP) is that of Abraham Belay as minister of defence.

He headed Tigray’s interim administration formed by the government before rebel forces recaptured most of the region in June.

Nearly all the seats in the election were won by the PP. The OLF was among parties that boycotted the poll.

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