November 27, 2018 (Ezega.com) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed opened a conference with opposition parties in the capital Addis Ababa today.
Besides representatives from the ruling party, EPRDF (Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front), leaders from some 81 opposition parties are in attendance, according to Ethiopian News Agency. Included were leaders of opposition parties registered in Ethiopia as well as parties that have returned from exile recently.
The conference is being held at the Prime Minister’s office at Arat Kilo, Addis Ababa.
The main thrust of the conference is believed to be about the ongoing reforms and on ways to make the upcoming elections free and fair for all.
The Ethiopian Prime Minisiter said today marks the beginning of discussions with political parties. He called on all political parties to work together regardless of differences,according to Ethiopian news report.
He also said the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) under the newly appointed former opposition party leader Birtukan Mideksa will use ideas which in the conference as a bench mark to design its own programs.
Under previous EPRDF governments, Ethiopian opposition parties had little chance to compete against the mighty EPRDF in a quarter of a century. Being in control of the media, security and economic institutions, the EPRDF had no meaningful opposition to its rule. For much of its rule, the EPRDF had managed to occupy the Ethiopian parliament all by itself - a feat that is achieved only by totalitarian regimes of the world.
Opposition figures and media personalities who dare challenge the staus quo were thrown into jail, or became the subjects of political-motivated dismissals and lawsuits that brought them financial ruins.
The new Prime Minister of Ethiopia wants to change all that. He seems to realize that the old way of governance was not only bad for the country, but also for the EPRDF itself.