Ethiopia’s ruling coalition elects prime minister as chair

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Ethiopia’s ruling coalition has chosen the country’s prime minister to lead the party until its next congress, a vote of confidence in the new leader’s sweeping political and economic reforms.

The results of the secret ballot for chairman were announced Friday by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff.

This was the ruling coalition’s first congress since Abiy took office in April and surprised Africa’s second most populous country by releasing prisoners, welcoming once-banned opposition groups home from exile and making peace with longtime rival Eritrea.

His government now faces the growing challenge of implementing reforms and allowing more freedoms while keeping sometimes deadly ethnic tensions from boiling over. Ethiopia has scores of ethnic groups.

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