New Party to Follow Inclusive Capitalist Economy: Official

By Staff Reporter

EPRDF-exec-meetingNovember 17, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- The Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) executive committee announced that it will be following “inclusive capitalist economic policy” as a guiding principle in the proposed united national party.

The committee in its second-day meeting on Sunday, November 17, 2019, discussed the draft Manifesto of the proposed united national party which will replace the coalition before the upcoming elections due to take place in May next year.

“The new party will strengthen the federal system and democracy. It would be inclusive and respect diversity of languages,” said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on his Facebook page.

EPRDF Executive Committee member Fikadu Tesema told local media that the front discussed economic, political, social and foreign relations directions of the proposed united party and referred the manifesto to the EPRDF’s council for approval.

The united political party’s economic policy would work for fair distribution of the national resources among its people and create a situation where the majority of Ethiopians would be more prosperous, Fikadu said.

“It will follow free economic policy wherein the private sector would be the major actor. The government, however, would intervene in selected economic areas particularly during market failures,” Fikadu said.

The EPRDF has always claimed that it follows a multi-party system. However, in practice, it did not. The proposed political party would strive to realize a genuine multi-party system wherein the voice of the public, civic societies and political parties would be heard, according to the leaders.

The new manifesto also envisages bringing quality and sustainable economic growth that can be competitive globally and generates job opportunities. The proposed party would strive to create diversified economic sectors and expand mechanized farming to modernize the agriculture sector, Fikadu added.

The ultimate goal of the manifesto involves on creation of pragmatic capitalism. Unlike the capitalist system in other countries, the new political party would work to avoid severe economic inequalities, according to the statement.

According to the executive member, the executive committee also discussed social issues with special emphasis on improving the quality of education, social security and lives of marginalized people including physically disabled people and orphans as well as fighting human trafficking.

The foreign relations of the proposed united political party involves ensuring the respect of Ethiopian citizens are respected regardless of where they live.

The executive committee is expected to deliberate on legal issues of the manifesto including the new party’s discipline, structure, and representations in today's deliberation.

The ruling EPRDF was founded in 1994 by four political parties namely the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front, Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), and South Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM).

The EPRDF Executive Committee has nominally 36 members, 9 each from the four founding members of the EPRDF: TPLF, ADP, ODP, and SEPDM. The EPRDF Council has 180 members, composed of 45 members each from TPLF, ADP, ODP, and SEPDM.

When the new unified party is established, these four parties will lose automatic representation of a set number of people inside the new party at all levels, including the Executive Committee. Appointments will be based on merit, rather than quota. Leadership positions will be filled by a majority vote at all levels. Some parties are expected to lose influence in the new party system, especially the TPLF, which dominated Ethiopian politics for a quarter of a century.

It is to be recalled that the TPLF has so far opposed the move to a unified party. Recently, it described EPRDF’s drive to a united national political party as “illegal.”  In the latest meeting of the Executive Committee meeting, its members either abstained or voted against the study document on the front’s transformation. Almost all executive members of TPLF have reportedly left the capital to Mekelle, boycotting the ongoing executive committee meeting of the front.

It seems increasingly likely that the TPLF will have no representation in the new governing party. Further, the governing party may include people from Tigrayan opposition parties such as Arena Tigray and Tigrayan Alliance For National Democracy (TAND), which the TPLF considers enemies. If such a scenario unfolds, it is unknown if the new unified, successor party to the EPRDF will be able to compete inside Tigray state freely and peacefully. The next several months should tell to what extent the TPLF will go to defend its remaining power and influence in Tigray and Ethiopia.

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