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Ethiopia’s PM wanted legitimacy – did he get it?

The ballots are still being counted in Ethiopia's national elections, which were held on June 21. The vote marks the first time that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has faced voters directly since coming to power in 2018, when mass protests ousted his predecessor.

Early in his term, Abiy was lauded for liberalizing the economy, freeing political prisoners, and ending a decades-long war with neighboring Eritrea. But he also has struggled to contain rising ethnic tensions: since November, Ethiopian forces have been warring with local militants in the region of Tigray.

International aid groups have warned of famine there and accused Abiy's forces of war crimes. Tigray did not participate in the election, and many opposition groups boycotted it.

To help us understand what the vote means for Ethiopia, Tigray, and the wider region, we spoke with Connor Vasey, the lead Ethiopia analyst at Eurasia Group.

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After Iranian election, revival of nuclear deal with US is a safe bet

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

With Iran's hardline president-elect, is reviving the nuclear deal still possible?

It's not just possible, it's probably one of the safest geopolitical bets around the world today, because not only the Iranian president-elect, but also the supreme leader, who really runs the country, all in favor of going back to the deal as it was enforced under the Obama-Biden administration. They will make more money off of that. They're not going to expand it. They're going to be limited. They don't even want to expand the timeline, never mind include other issues like support for proxies in the region, terrorist organizations, ballistic missile development, all of that. But I'd be really surprised that by the end of the year, by the end of the third quarter, we don't see the Iranians back in the Iranian nuclear deal.

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Can Ethiopia hold elections in the middle of a civil war?

In 2019, Ethiopia's fresh Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in brokering a peace treaty with neighbor and longtime foe Eritrea. At the time, Abiy was hailed by the Western media as a reformist who was steering Ethiopia, long dominated by ethnic strife and dictatorial rule, into a new democratic era.

But barely two years later, Abiy stands accused of overseeing a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the northern Tigray region, putting the country on the brink of civil war.

It's against this backdrop that Ethiopians will head to the polls on June 21 for a parliamentary election now regarded as a referendum on Abiy's leadership. But will the vote be free and fair, and will the outcome actually reflect the will of the people? Most analysts say the answer is a resounding "no" on both fronts.

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