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ETHIOPIA; Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Sworn In For a Second Five-Year Term.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was sworn in on Monday for a second five-year term.

His inauguration comes as a nearly year-long war in the northern region of Tigray spreads into other parts of the country and watchdogs warn that repressive government practices are on the return.

Signs bearing a flower and the words “New Beginnings” were seen across the capital ahead of Monday’s ceremony.

“I, Abiy Ahmed Ali, today in the House of People’s Representatives, accept the appointment as prime minister, as I pledge to undertake responsibly and with faith to the constitution the responsibility placed upon me by the people,” he said while being sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi.

African heads of state — from Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Kenya and neighboring Somalia — attended the ceremony.

“Today is a milestone yet only a beginning of a season of hope,” Abiy’s senior adviser Mamo Mihretu said on Twitter. “The road ahead might be daunting, but we shall not be weary.”

Abiy’s Prosperity Party was declared the winner of parliamentary elections in June.

The vote was criticized and even boycotted by some parties, who said their candidates had been arrested. Yet, electoral observers said it was better run than previous elections.

Abiy called the vote the country’s first free and fair election.

The embattled Tigray region was excluded from the polls.

Races for one-fifth of parliament seats had to be delayed because of security or logistical issues.

Authorities held elections for some of those seats last week. The results, which will not have a major bearing on the balance of power in parliament, are expected later this month.

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