The 2018 election of Abiy Ahmed as leader of the ruling coalition, and thus as prime minister, changed the country’s ethnic calculus. Abiy is an Oromo, from the country’s largest ethnic group, and his rise signalled the sidelining of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which had long dominated the government and armed forces under Meles Zenawi.
Abiy set up the Prosperity Party to replace the ruling Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front. With attacks on civilians and calls for the break-up of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region, Ethiopia’s ethnic federalism began to crack. Tensions led to war between Tigray and the federal government.
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The federal forces took the Tigray capital of Mekelle in late November, but the fighting does not look to be over. “Part of the
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