Ethiopian Opposition Alliance Takes Step Toward Becoming a Single Party. – By William Davison ( Bloomberg )
A coalition of Ethiopian opposition parties will take steps toward becoming a single party by forming a front, said Negasso Gidada, co-deputy chairman of the so-called Medrek alliance.
The change will result in the opposition group having “one general assembly, one center, one leadership and one long-term strategic policy paper that is binding for all parties,” Negasso said in an interview today from the capital, Addis Ababa. Negasso is also deputy chairman of the Unity for Democracy and Justice and a former president of Ethiopia.
Members of the alliance will meet tomorrow to discuss the changes, said Merera Gudina, a deputy chairman of Medrek.
“People want unity, people are opposed to fragmentation,” Merera said. “It gives them hope to challenge the regime and its lies.”
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies won all but two of the 547 seats in the Horn of Africa country’s parliament in May elections. Medrek obtained one seat.
A European Union election observer mission said in a May 25 report the vote did “not meet certain international commitments.”
A Medrek front would create a “strong challenging organization” for local and city administrations elections that take place in two years time, Negasso said. Medrek is in “informal discussions” with some of Ethiopia’s 79 registered parties about joining the front, he said, without providing details.