Ethiopian lawmakers appointed Birtukan Mideksa, an ex-judge and once-jailed opposition leader, as chairwoman of the electoral authority.
The appointment signifies Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s commitment to introducing multiparty democracy in a nation that’s been ruled by the same party since it overthrew a military dictatorship more than a quarter of a century ago. The Horn of Africa country is scheduled to hold elections in 2020.
Birtukan was jailed for life in 2008 after a dispute with the government over a pardon agreement. Amnesty International, the London-based human-rights group, described her as a prisoner of conscience. She wasreleasedin 2010.
“I know there is a big challenge ahead of me, but I work to ensure the national election board makes impartial and correct decisions, and that it becomes a trustworthy and participatory institution,” she said in an interview with the ruling-party funded Fana Broadcasting Corp.