February 24, 2019 (Ezega.com) - In a major announcement that will likely have profound implications, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed disclosed that the ruling coalition party in Ethiopia, the Ethiopia Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), will transition into a new national party that is open to all Ethiopians, regardless of ethnicity, religion and other metrics.
The Prime Minister disclosed this during a conference with over three thousand people gathered from Somali, Afar, Benishangul Gumz, Harari and Afar regions of Ethiopia.
He said the new party will materialize in a few months, and it will be open to all Ethiopians based on merit and not on affiliations.
The Prime Minister also held discussions with the central committee of the political parties from the five regions know as, affiliates of EPRDF, where he said “we will soon abolish the name affiliate or supporter party, after a few months there will be no Somali, Afar, Benishangul or Oromo party; we will establish an Ethiopian party where we all will be part of it.”
When asked, the Prime Minister did not give a lot of details about the new party being proposed.
The current ruling party, EPRDF, is composed of four main parties, namely, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF, the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), and the Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (SEPDM).
Currently, each of these four main parties have 9 representatives in the Executive Committee of the EPRDF, and 45 each in the EPRDF central committee.
It is unknown to what extent the EPRDF and its member parties have discussed and approved this transformation, which is going to have massive impact on the nation's politics.
The EPRDF has ruled Ethiopia since 1991 when it overthrew the military junta, Derg, then ruling Ethiopia.
When and if the plan goes into effect, some of these member parties will likely lose some power and influence, depending on their current power within the EPRDF.
In particular, the TPLF is likely to lose a great deal given that it is no longer a key player inside EPRDF politics, as it used to be, and also the fact that it represents a smaller portion of the Ethiopian population.
A scenario where the TPLF is not represented in the new ruling party entirely cannot be excluded.