Haile Gebrselassie to Enter Ethiopian Politics
Former world record holder will run for parliament, maybe president.
Haile Gebrselassie will run for a seat in the Ethiopian parliament in 2015, and would consider becoming the country's president,the Associated Press reports.
"My time [as a world-class runner] is almost over," Gebrselassie told the Associated Press on Monday. "[It's] a big mistake … to say let me avoid [politics]."
Gebrselassie said he would run as an independent for parliament, rather than as a member of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. The next scheduled national election is for 2015; the elections have been held every five years since 1995. After the 2005 election, Gebrselassie helped to broker the release of jailed members of an opposition party.
Gebrselassie also told the Associated Press that he might run for president, a post that's filled by voting in the two houses of the Ethiopian parliament. The current president, Girma Wolde-Giorgis, was re-elected in 2007. The next presidential election is scheduled for September of this year. In Ethiopia's parliamentary system, the president is the head of state, while the prime minister is the head of government, and wields more power.
Gebrselassie, who has held world records from 2000 meters indoors to the marathon, and who won two Olympic gold medals at 10,000 meters, turned 40 in April. In May, he set masters world records at 10-K and 10 miles. He has not announced whether he'll run a fall marathon, where he would likely try to break the masters world record of 2:08:46.