The ruling coalition in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which has four member political parties, has agreed to unite and form a new party.
The new party involves five political parties, which has been leading the peripheral regions of Ethiopia as partners of EPRDF for over two decades.
Over the past three days, the Executive Committee members of the coalition have discussed the draft program of the new party that replaces the coalition and approved the formation of Ethiopian Prosperity Party (EPP).
The new national party – EPP – will have offices in all parts of the country and uses different languages in Ethiopia depending on the preference of the people on the ground, according to the draft program of the EPP.
The next step will be to further develop the program during the upcoming congress of the EPRDF, according Fikadu Tesema, member of the Executive Committee of EPRDF who spoke to the state broadcaster – ETV.
Mr. Fikadu indicated that the new party will then go through registration process of National Electoral Board of Ethiopia to in order to run for the upcoming May 2020 general election. He indicated that new party will be led by a president and deputy president.
As Ethiopia is approaching general election, political parties operating in the country has been merging over the past months.
After coming to power in April 2018 the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been advising the at some point over 100 political parties operating in the country to come together narrowing their differences and get more vote that enables them to advance their agendas in the parliament.
The EPP will be following a pragmatic capitalism, unlike the old EPRDF, which used to be revolutionary democratic front.
Some political observers suggest that the formation of EPP will pave the way for exercising civilized politics based on ideas and ideology, unlike the EPRDF era, which has been often characterized by divisive ethnic politics.
EPRDF, which is the brain child of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), comprises four political parties namely TPLF, Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and Southern party. While the first three parties are ethnic based parties, the Southern party involves 56 ethnic groups found in Southern party of Ethiopia.
The formation of EPRDF was facilitated as the TPLF and Eritrean Liberation Front of Isais Afwerki were about to conclude in victory the civil war with the Marxist Derg regime of Ethiopia around the year 1990.
Unofficial reports from this week EPRDF Executive shows that majority of TPLF executive members are not happy about the liquidation of the coalition into one national party involving all ethnic groups and regions in the country.
Those who advocate for the liquidation of the coalition into a single national political party argue that it will enable anybody in Ethiopia from any ethnic group or region to run for prime minister position of Ethiopia as long as she/ he qualifies.
On the other hand, some TPLF members oppose the changing of the coalition into a single party as a threat for the existing ethnic-based federalism and consider it as the comeback of a unitary state in Ethiopia, against which they claim to scarify tens of thousands of lives during the civil war of the 1980s and 1990s.
Speaking to Tigray TV last night, Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa city and Executive Member of TPLF Solomon Kidane (Dr. Eng.) indicated that the TPLF oppose the unification and will continue the struggle aligning itself with ‘the democrat forces in the country’.
Commenting on the future politics of Ethiopia he stated that the struggle will be between those anti-people forces and those who stand for the people.