A new era of political leadership emerges in Ethiopia, but dissent is still taboo

Ailing ruling party veteran officials in Ethiopia are leaving their posts to a group of younger leaders in the East African nation which enjoys close ties with Washington but is increasingly looking to China as a model.

The ruling party on Tuesday elected the powerful 36-member executive and 180-member central committees that are dominated by newcomers. The election comes at the end of a four-day congress of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front.

But the leadership change doesn't necessarily mean more political space for the country's heavily prosecuted opposition which has only a single member of parliament among the 547 seats. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Monday wrote-off the opposition as neo-liberal mouthpieces with zero contribution to a developmental state.