Former president of Ethiopia
Dr. Negasso Gidada Solon (Amharic: ነጋሶ ጊዳዳ? Nägaso Gidada; born 1943) was the President of Ethiopia from 1995 until 2001. He is the son of Gidada Solon, one of the first local ministers of a Protestant church in the Dembidolo area in western Ethiopia.
Dr. Nagasso holds a doctorate in social history from the Goethe University in Frankfurt-am-Main and is currently a part-time lecturer of history at Addis Ababa University. The title of his doctoral thesis is "History of the Sayyoo Oromo of Southwestern Wallaga, Ethiopia, from about 1730 to 1886". He is married to Regina Abelt, a German nurse and midwife. Being the First Lady of Ethiopia while holding the German Citizenship earned Abelt considerable, yet unwanted, attention by the German and European tabloid press. In marked contrast, Regina Abelt was virtually invisible in Ethiopia and never enjoyed the official title of First Lady which was instead used by the wife of the Prime Minister.
In Europe, he was an active member of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Dr Negasso had been Minister of Information in the Transitional Government of Ethiopia and Central Committee member of the Oromo People's Democratic Organisation (OPDO) when he became president on 22 August 1995. He left office when his term expired on 8 October 2001. Before the end of his term, he was expelled from both the OPDO and the EPRDF coalition on 22 June.
In the 2005 general elections, Dr. Negasso was elected to the Ethiopian House of People's Representatives as an independent from Dembidolo in the Mirab Welega Zone of the Oromia Region.
In July 2008, Dr. Negasso became a founding member of the Forum for Democratic Dialogue (FDD), a new coalition of opposition parties and activists. Then in November 2009, he announced he had joined the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ), one of the eight parties in the FDD, "to try to unite Ethiopia". At the time of his announcement, he also asked forgiveness from Ethiopians for deceiving them that Ethiopia's current constitution was ratified in 1995 with full participation of all political parties in a democratic manner. "There were a number of political parties that were excluded from the process," he said during the ceremony when he and Siye Abraha were officially inducted into the UDJ
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