Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was sworn in for a second five-year term as leader of a country beset by a nearly year-long civil war.
Earlier this year, Abiy’s Prosperity Party was declared the winner of parliamentary elections, which were condemned and at times ignored by opposition leaders but hailed by some outside electoral monitors as better run than previous elections.
The prime minister, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for rebuilding ties with Eritrea and continuing to pursue broad political reforms, now faces significant challenges as the war in Tigray spreads to other parts of the country, deadly ethnocultural violence persists, and human rights groups warn that hostile government practices are going to return.
Later on Monday, Abiy is set to give a speech.
Ethiopia’s economy, which was previously one of Africa’s fastest-growing, is being weakened by the 11-month war, which threatens to isolate Abiy, who was once considered as a regional peacemaker. Only three African heads of state were present at Monday’s ceremony: Nigeria’s, Senegal’s, and Somalia’s.
The United Nations, the United States, and numerous European nations publicly condemned Ethiopia’s government last week after it dismissed seven United Nations officials it suspected of assisting Tigray insurgents fighting Ethiopian and coalition forces.
The administration is under increasing pressure as people in Tigray begin to starve to death as a result of a “de facto humanitarian siege,” according to the United Nations. The situation in Ethiopia is a “stain on our conscience,” according to the United Nations’ humanitarian head, who spoke to The Associated Press last week.
If humanitarian access to Tigray is not provided immediately, and the warring parties do not take moves toward peace, the US has warned more penalties.