Ethiopia’s parliament has elected Abiy Ahmed as the new prime minister, a week after the ruling coalition nominated him to succeed Hailemariam Desalegn.
Abiy was sworn in on Monday shortly after his election to become Africa’s second-most populous country’s 16th prime minister and the first Oromo to hold Ethiopia’s top seat.
Hailemariam resigned in February, following months of protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions that led to the deaths of hundreds of people.
The protests, which initially began over land rights, but later broadened to include calls for greater political representation at the national level, met a harsh government response.
Abiy, 41, a former lieutenant-colonel in the army and head of Ethiopia’s science and technology ministry, has a reputation as an effective orator and reformer.
Speaking on state television after his swearing-in ceremony, Abiy called for an end to “years of misunderstandings” with Eritrea.
“I call on the Eritrean government to take the same stand,” he said.
The two countries have had poor relations since a two-year border war, which claimed 70,000 lives.
Abiy said the country was ready to resolve differences between the two peoples, who are “not only intertwined in interests but also in blood”.
“We will stand by our African brothers in general and our neighbours in particular, during good and bad at times,” he said.