Meles Zenawi Asres (9 May 1955 – 20 August 2012) was the Prime Minister of Ethiopia from 1995 until his death in 2012. From 1985, he was the chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF), and the head of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). He was President of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995 and became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in 1995 following the general elections that year.
In 1975, he left college to join the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front, and opposing the Derg. After the overthrow, he was elected as Prime Minister.
While his government was credited with reforms such as those that led a multi-party political system in Ethiopia, introduction of private press in Ethiopia and decreased child mortality rates, his government was also accused of political repression and various human rights abuses, curbing freedom of press and dissent. He has also faced accusations of warmongering and committing war crimes as part of Ethiopia's involvement in the civil war in neighboring Somalia from 2006 to 2011, though his primary targets have been the militant Islamist groups Al-Shabaab and the Islamic Courts Union. During his premiership, Zenawi also displayed prejudice towards non-Christians - towards Muslims in particular.
Known by the media as one of Africa's strongmen, he was also an ally in the United States' "War on Terror".