Meles Zenawi to step down: FT

LONDON, 23 June 2009 (AFP) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has had “enough” after 18 years in power and would be willing to leave office to make way for a new generation, he said in an interview.

“My personal position is that I have had enough,” he told the Financial Times.

The newspaper reported that he had not given a deadline for his departure, but said discussions on when and how he would leave had started within the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

“I am arguing my case and the others are also arguing their case,” he said.

“I hope we will come up with some common understanding on the way forward that would not require me to resign from my party that I have fought for all my life.”

Meles, a former Marxist rebel leader, has been in power since the 1991 overthrow of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam. He was returned to power in 2005 in a controversial parliamentary election victory by his coalition.

He told the FT that his party now needed leadership that had not been part of the armed struggle for power.

“We are not talking about Meles only. We are talking about the old generation. The party needs to have new leadership that does not have the experience of the armed struggle,” he said.

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Posted by on June 23, 2009. Filed under NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.