Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called for ‘multiparty democracy’ in a country that has long been under the tight control of a single coalition. This was disclosed yesterday 22nd of July, 2018 by the chief of staff Fitsum Arega.
According to Fitsum Arega, the prime minister stated that “Given our current politics, there is no option except pursuing a multiparty democracy supported by
strong institutions that respect human rights and rule of law.”
“This will allow us to mediate our differences peacefully and to ensure lasting progress.”
This information was disclosed at a meeting Abiy had with leaders of numerous political parties and indicate a possible opening up of the narrow political space. It also signals the latest in a series of stunning turnarounds under Abiy, who has pursued economic reforms and sealed peace with neighboring Eritrea since coming to power in April.
Ethiopia is technically a multi-party democracy but in practice has been dominated since 1991 by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front which, together with its allies, controls every seat in Parliament.
Earlier this month Ethiopia’s Parliament removed three groups from the country’s list of ‘terrorist’ organizations in a bid to mend fences with the political Opposition. Rights groups have long accused Ethiopia of using allegations of involvement with the armed anti-government groups Ginbot 7, Oromo Liberation Front and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) as a pretext to jail journalists and Opposition politicians.
Since Abiy came to power, thousands of dissidents have been released from jail and last week parliament voted to grant amnesty to individuals and groups either under investigation or convicted on treason, crime against the constitutional order, and armed struggle.