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Is Abiy's Liberalization Push Too Much, Too Soon for Ethiopia?

Jun 26, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed meets with fellow African leaders in January 2019.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attends a meeting with African leaders in Addis Ababa on Jan. 17, 2019.

(Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The past year been one of historic transformation in Ethiopia, to say the least -- thanks, in large part, to the country's new youthful prime minister, Abiy Ahmed. After taking office in April 2018, Abiy and his political allies hit the ground running with sweeping political and economic reforms aimed at freeing the country from its former authoritarian regime. For some, this change hasn't come quickly enough. But others worry that this push is perhaps too much, too soon. And as the dust settles on a June 22 coup attempt in the country's Amhara region, the possibility that Abiy has opened a Pandora's box looms ever larger. While widely heralded, the recent loosening of Ethiopia's draconian media and political restrictions has also exacerbated endemic interethnic conflict. Abiy's promise to hold free and fair elections in 2020, meanwhile, has brought new, more hard-line regional parties to the fore who are now looking to compete...

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