Ethiopia’s Ruling Coalition: National Election Will Be Held on Schedule

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia’s ruling coalition said it will hold a national election as per schedule, amid fears potential security concerns could delay the vote.

EPRDF’s Executive committee has concluded its two-day long meeting on Friday evening, during which, the coalition deliberate on various issues including the national election scheduled to be held next year.

“The executive committee has decided the election to be held on schedule,” said Fikadu Tessema, executive committee member, in an interview with the state broadcaster on Friday night.

Several security concerns ranging from unrest in the southern region to the recent coup by a rogue militia in the northern Amhara region made created doubt over next year’s national election.

Fikadu said the meeting passed a resolution for the party to be ready for the 2020 Election both as competing and ruling party.

Apart from 36 executive members of the four parties that form the coalition, senior party leaders of the five sister parties representing Somali, Afar, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella and Harari regional states attended the meeting.

The meeting was held for the first time since tensions within the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which has ruled with an iron grip since 1991, have risen following the failed coup.

In a rare public feud this month, two of its four ethnic parties, ADP and TPLF, traded barbs over who was responsible for the violence.

The issue has been a subject of committee discussion. Fikadu said the committee agreed parties should look into “problems within” before pointing fingers to each other.

“There is no party without problem in the coalition,” the committee members said. “Parties agreed to rectify things that affect their relationships within themselves following a detailed and frank discussion on the issue”.

After decades of harsh rule, Abiy’s reforms have created new freedoms but old grievances and disputes have resurfaced.

“Enough time has been given to all to express their grievances,” said Fikadu. The committee members have now agreed on the need to create a balance between people’s rights and the level of freedom.

The meeting also looked into the recent ‘Scientific study’ to split the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Regional State (SNNPRS) into two regional states and endorsed while postponing talks for the unification of the coalition for the next meeting.

The study commissioned by Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) has been endorsed by the committee, said Fikadu.

“It also gave direction to support the implementation of the study’s outcome, one of the four major parties constituting EPRDF, which is governing the SNNP region.

Regarding the unity of the coalition, the decision on the issue of forming a united party out of the four major and sister parties has been postponed.

Discussions on how to bring the coalition to a nationwide party are currently at different stages in each of the parties that form the coalition and sister parties.

Fikadu said the meeting agreed, when the outcomes of these discussions are complete, a decision will be made by EPRDF executive committee on the issue.