ADDIS ABEBA – Dr. Berhanu Nega of the former leader of the defunct Ginbot 7 has been elected as the first leader of the newly formed Ethiopian Citizens Party for Social Justice (ECPSJ) on Friday. The party also elected Andualem Arage as its deputy leader.
The party concluded its founding forum for the establishment of the party on Friday afternoon with the election.
Berhanu from the defunct Ginbot 7 has received 912 votes to assume the top position in the party while Andualem, also former leader of UDJ got a nod the deputy leader post.
Berhanu, after the election, said that the party’s primary objective is to create a stable democratic system in the country.
He also urged Ethiopia’s ruling party to focus more on stabilizing and continue building democracy in the nation.
But he that responsibility should not be left alone for anyone.
“We are always ready to contribute our part towards maintaining that,” he added.
Apart from leadership election, the party has also installed two chairperson and deputy chairperson position, which are now occupied by Yeshiwas Assefa, former leader of Blue Party, and Chane Kebede (PhD), former leader of Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), respectively.
Unlike the leadership of ECPSJ that will seek government position if elected, the chairpersons will solely be responsible to party’s operations and its day-to-day activities.
ECPSJ came to existence after seven political parties, both from abroad and Ethiopia, dissolved themselves and join forces to give a strong alternative view in the May 2020 election.
The party intends to advance citizen politics in Ethiopia, according to the draft political program that was a subject of this week’s meeting.
Ethiopia is expected to hold national polls next year, a process that is seen as one of the toughest tests for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who pledged to leave office if he lost the election.
Abiy has turned national politics on its head since coming to power in April by welcoming back exiled oppositions including the ECPSJ’s leader Berhanu, releasing prisoners and appointing a formerly jailed dissident as head of the election board.
Abiy’s EPRDF coalition has been in power in Ethiopia – a major Western ally in an unstable region – since 1991. The grouping and affiliated parties hold all seats in parliament.