May 10, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Seven Ethiopian opposition parties merged to form a new national party yesterday. The new party was named Ethiopian Citizens Party for Social Justice (ECPSJ).
The seven parties that merged were Patriotic Genbot 7, Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), All Ethiopian Democratic Party (AEDP), Semayawi Party, New Generation Party (NGP), Gambella Regional Movement (GRM), and Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ).
The newly created party also announced that it has elected its leaders. Dr. Birhanu Nega, formerly leader of Ginbot 7, was elected the leader of the new party. Andualem Arage, and activist and leader of UDJ was elected deputy leader of the party. Further Yeshiwas Assefa and Chane Kebede were elected as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, respectivey.
It was also disclosed that Yeshiwas and Chane will handle organizational matters, behind Birhanu Nega and Andualem Arage as leaders.
Speaking on the occasion, party Leader Birhanu Nega said stabilizing the country and leading it to democratization are among the key priorities of his party.
Ethiopian politics has long been dominated by regional parties divided along ethnic lines, which is now recognized to be determental to the unity and stability of the country. The ruling party EPRDF (Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front) is composed of four ethnic parties each from Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and Southern Ethiopia.
There has been a lot of talk in the last year or so about the need to form pan-Ethiopian parties open to all Ethiopian citizens. The formation of the new party, Ethiopian Citizens Party for Social Justice, is perhaps the first major developement along that line.
The rulling party, EPRDF, has also signaled its intention to form one, unified party. Although not all member parties of the EPRDF are on board on this plan, many expect the party to make the move sooner rather than later, perhaps before the upcoming Ethiopian elections.