Ethiopia's ruling party is holding a meeting in the capital to elect a chairman to succeed the late prime minister Meles Zenawi.

Meles, 57, died on August 20 of an unknown illness. The person elected to succeed him in the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front will almost automatically become prime minister, because the ruling party holds an overwhelming majority in parliament.

Meles ruled the country since 1991, assuming both the chairmanship of the ruling and the country's premiership.

Sekoture Getachew, the party's foreign relations head, says the party's 180-member council will also elect a new deputy chairperson.

The party's current deputy chair and Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to be named Meles' successor.

Hailemariam took over as acting prime minister immediately after Meles' death.