By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
March 22, 2013 (Mekelle, ETHIOPIA) - Four senior leaders of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), an influential party within the ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), have resigned.
The leaders submitted their resignations during the 11th TPLF central committee meeting, which is being held in the northern regional capital of Mekelle city.
The politicians to resign were: former Ethiopian foreign minister ambassador Seyoum Mesfin; the current deputy foreign minister ambassador Birhane Gebrekirstos; the former mayor of Addis Ababa Arkebe Equbay and Zeray Asgedom.
Many participants burst into tears when Seyoum, who is currently Ethiopia’s ambassador to China, made his farewell speech.
A total of nine departing veteran central committee members received certificates in recognition of their careers.
Officials told Sudan Tribune that the high ranking TPLF leaders had served for over two decades in various government positions and their resignation was part of a newly introduced succession plan to replace the old leadership with younger members.
The EPRDF party launched the succession plan two years ago to allow the next generation to actively take part in national political decision-making processes.
The meeting concluded the four-day session by electing Abay Woldu, the current Tigray regional president as TPLF chairman and Debrestion Gebremichael, who is the current information and communication technology minister and deputy prime minister, as the new deputy chair of the party.
The party has also named 45 members of the central committee, including 12 new members, with two women also elected to the nine-member politburo for the first time.
Three other affiliate parties within the ruling coalition have similarly wrapped up their regular session on Thursday by electing new party leaders and members of their central committees.