The Later Reign of Haile Selassie: According to the terms of the Allied peace treaty with Italy, signed in 1947, agreement was to be reached within a year on the disposition of the former Italian colonies of Eritrea, Italian Somaliland, and Libya. In the absence of such an agreement, however, the decision was left to the UN. The UN General Assembly voted for the federation of Eritrea with Ethiopia, to be completed by September 1952. In 1955 Haile Selassie issued a revised constitution, which was a half-hearted attempt to move the country into the 20th century. For example, it gave certain limited powers to the Parliament. Progressive elements in the country, however, felt it was insufficient. After an unsuccessful attempt by members of the imperial guard to overthrow Haile Selassie in December 1960, the emperor increased government efforts toward economic development and social reform. As the 1960s progressed, Haile Selassie became increasingly preoccupied with foreign affairs. In 1963 he played a leading role in the formation of the Organization of African Unity, which located its secretariat at Addis Ababa. During the following year a long-standing border dispute between Ethiopia and the Somali Republic erupted into armed warfare. A truce, agreed to in March, established a demilitarized zone along the border, but hostilities recurred sporadically. Trouble also arose in 1965 with Sudan, which Ethiopia accused of abetting an Eritrean independence movement. The conflict intensified when 7000 Eritreans fled to Sudan in 1967 because of Ethiopian military reprisals against the secessionists. In December 1970 the government declared a state of siege in parts of Eritrea. The move failed, however, to end the guerrilla warfare.
In the early 1970s Haile Selassie continued to play a major role in international affairs, helping to mediate disputes between Senegal and Guinea, Tanzania and Uganda, and nor thern and southern Sudan. Never-the-less, he largely ignored urgent domestic problems: the great inequality in the distribution of wealth, rural underdevelopment, corruption in government, rampant inflation, unemployment, and a severe drought in the north during 1972-75.The Mengistu Regime. In February 1974 students, workers, and soldiers began a series of strikes and demonstrations that culminated on Sept. 12, 1974, with the deposition of Haile Selassie by members of the armed forces. A Provisional Military Administrative Council, or the Dirgue, was established to run the country, and in late 1974 it issued a program calling for the establishment of a state-controlled socialist economy. In early 1975 all agricultural land was nationalized, and much of it was soon parceled out in small plots to individuals. In March 1975 the monarchy was abolished, and Ethiopia became a republic.
His Excellency Dr.Negaso Gidada (1995-), President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Dr. Negasso Gidada was born in 1943 in the town of Dembi Dolo in Western Wollega. He attended primary school in Dembi Dolo and secondary school in Nazareth and Addis Ababa. Between 1967 and 1971, Dr. Gidada studied history at Haile Selassie I University in Addis Ababa. After graduating from university, he served as a teacher for 3 years before going into exile in Germany in October of 1974. During his exile in Germany he held numerous occupations. From 1983 to 1985 he served as a university Oromo language teacher while attending graduate school. President Negasso graduated with a MA in History and Social Psychology from the University of Frankfurt in 1984. He later earned his PhD in ethnology as well. In 1985 he became the director of the Third World Center in Frankfurt. While in Europe, he was secretary, editor, and chairman of the Union of Oromo Students in Europe from 1976-1981. He was a member of and representative of the OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) in Europe from 1979-1981. He joined the Ethiopian Discussion Forum between 1980 and 1985. From 1986-1991, Dr. Gidada served as editor, secretary, and chairman for the Union of Oromos in Europe. He became a supporter of the EPRDF in 1989 and became a member of the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO) in 1991. Dr. Gidada returned home to Ethiopia in the summer of 1991 and later became a member of the Central Committee of the OPDO. Following the onset of the democratic process in Ethiopia, he was appointed to the post of Minister in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs where he remained until 1992. He then served as Minister of Information under the Transitional Government until his election as the new President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on August 22, 1995. President Negasso Gidada has three children and is married.
Meles Zenawi's, (1995 - ), Prime Minister and who was also acting President before 1995. His Excellency Meles Zenawi was born in 1955 in the town of Adwa, located in northern Ethiopia, where he spent his formative years attending elementary school. He attended the prestigious General Wingate High School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Upon graduating with honors, Prime Minister Zenawi was awarded the Haile Selassie I Prize Trust, a selective award given only to the most outstanding students. At this time, he entered the University of Addis Ababa Medical school, where he spent the next few years. In 1975, Prime Minister Zenawi left the University and became a founding member of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). For the next 16 years he was active in the political and military struggle against the military dictatorship in place in Ethiopia at the time. In 1985 he became the Secretary General of the TPLF, and in 1989 assumed the Chairmanship of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of Ethiopian political organizations. With the defeat of the military regime, he was elected the President of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia and the Chairman of the Council of Representatives. On the 23rd of August, 1995, he was unanimously elected by members of the Council of Peoples' Representatives to be Premier of the new Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), and took the oath of office the same day. Prime Minister Zenawi has won international and domestic admiration and respect for leading Ethiopia down a peaceful and democratic path during the challenging period of transition and beyond. In 1997 he was awarded the Good Governance Award of the Global Coalition for Africa. The Prime Minister speaks fluent Tigrigna, Amharic, and English. He holds and MBA from Open University in the UK. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is married with two children.
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