Increasing tension could force Abiy’s gov’t to scrap the May 2020 elections – STRATFOR

Since rising to power in April 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has already overseen several impressive victories — the opening of Ethiopia’s media and political environments being hailed as one of his biggest. His efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation,” including opening Ethiopia’s relations with long-time enemy Eritrea, even earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in recent weeks. But unfortunately for Ethiopia’s new leader, no amount of accolades will protect him from the bitter campaign his regional rivals are gearing up for ahead of elections slated for May 2020.

On a continent where authoritarian leaders still abound, Abiy has given rise to hopes that Ethiopia might soon become Africa’s next big success story. As part of this push, the prime minister confirmed in October that the country will, as promised, hold free and fair elections in May 2020. But there are concerns that Ethiopia’s budding democracy may be crumbling beneath the weight of escalating political violence.

Interethnic violence in Ethiopia soared to sky-high levels under Abiy’s predecessor, forcing millions of citizens to flee their homes. But recent efforts to improve the situation have lagged amid the increasingly virulent rhetoric of the country’s ethnic and religious hard-liners. […] CONTINUE READING