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Published 23/08/2012

Zenawi's death leaves a ticking time-bomb

The death of Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi on the night of Aug. 20 will amount to no less than a time-bomb for the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and for its hard core, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) because it will ignite previously restrained ambitions of his would-be successors.
Haile Mariam Desalegn, former adviser to the Prime Minister and current vice prime minister, was named as acting leader. But there's no saying Desalegn, an engineer from southern Ethiopia who was Meles Zenawi's favorite, will be able to impose his authority in lasting fashion on TPLF bosses from the north of the country.

Despite an appearance of calm, the fight for power has already begun behind the scenes. Some TPLF leaders like Meles Zenawi's widow, Azeb Mesfin, whose political ambitions grate on others in the party, could seek the top post for themselves or for one of their own. The leaders Amharas and Oromos from EPRDF are calling for the post to fall to a non-Tigrean. This report will help you examine the complicated equation of Meles Zenawi's succession.

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