January 1, 2019 - Four Ethiopia-wide political parties have agreed to merge and form one citizen-based party.
In a press conference, the Semayawi Party (Blue Party), Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), Patriotic Ginbot 7, and Unity Party (UP) said they are forming a new party.
The four parties have been in negotiations on forming some kind of unity party between their respective organizations.
According to the plan, the new party is to be formed at the end or march 2019.
The name of the new party is not yet disclosed, nor its leaders, according to the information they released.
As far as its objectives, the new party will focus on Ethiopian unity, freedom of citizens, ownership of land and people empowerment, it was learnt.
Preparing for the new party formation, the Blue Party headed by Yeshiwas Assefa has already disolved itself this past Sunday. Its leader, Yeshiwas Assefa said “we are becoming a model and other parties were also working to follow suit.”
Ethiopian politics is currently dominated by ethnic-based regional parties. Nation-wide parties such as EDP and Semayawi are far fewer and small and have little clout in the country's political landscape. Several organizations that returned from exile recently are are also ethnic-based organizations, such as the OLF (Oromo Liberation Front), the ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front), and Tigray Alliance for National Democracy (TAND).
The ruling party, EPRDF (Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front), is a coalition of four ethnic-based parties.
The new, emerging nation-wide parties, who believe regional-based politics as a real threat to the unity and stability of the country, hope to change that.
According to many, the effects of more than two decades of ethnic-based politics is becoming more real by the day in Ethiopia by the growing volume of ethnic clashes and disputes over boundaries and resources - developments that are entirely new to mordern Ethiopia.
Recent estimates indicate there are about 80 political parties operating in Ethiopia. In a conference held recently in Addis Ababa, which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addressed, several opposition party leaders stressed the need for merger and unity among these parties.