The ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of four parties,announced its long-debated merge into a single party this week —dubbed Ethiopian Prosperity Party— ina process that is marred by controversy involving the founder of the front; Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which finally decided to boycott the merger meeting claiming the illegality of the process.
This came just days after the Executive Committee’s meeting of the Front,in which the bylaw of the new party was said to have been approved, with TPLF reported to have voted against the change.
TPLF largely argues that the merger process was supposed to be approved by the EPRDF congress, which is the highest power structure in the Front,before the decision was announced.
“We discussed and passed the bylaws for the newly merged Party. The three-day discussions were concluded in a transparent and democratic manner bringing leaders of the Party closer, said Prime Minister Abiy in his tweet on November 18.
Despite the statement from the chairman of the Front, TPLF has criticized the process of the merger as unlawful and of not following the right procedure.Hence, the Council’s meeting concluded and the aforementioned decisions were passed, without TPLF which boycotted the meeting.
“The Council has approved the new party’s program and the merger unanimously [without the absent TPLF members],”FekaduTessema, executive member within EPRDF told EBC.
The merger, which is intended to include EPRDF’s affiliate parties, is still not clear on what will be the fate of parties that reject the merger.
According to Addis Standard, a local news website, Eng. Mohamed Shalle, Somlai Democratic Party (SDP) Central Committee Bureau Head, told the regional broadcaster that, pursuant to the merger and the establishment of the new party, the Somali ruling party SDP will follow the right procedure of presenting the decision to join the new party, which involves dissolving SDP, to party’s Congress, central committee and executive committees, accordingly.
“All they (EPRDF) can do is offer a merger. And for that to happen, our EC, CC as well as party wide congress and cadres should all debate and approve if and only if they think it is in the best interest of the Somali people and their unwavering demand for self-autonomy and the protection of the constitutionally enshrined sacred pact – that is multinational federalism,” Addis Standard quoted Bureau Head speaking to the Somali Region Broadcaster.
Website also states that the Somali ruling party has “agreed in principle” to join the new EPP with added caveat that the constitutionally enshrined rights of Somali people and region remain intact in the new political formulation.
These uncertain political scenes in the country and particularly within the ruling party, unfolds ahead of the 2020 upcoming national election.
So far, there is little clarity on how the chairman and his party allies are planning to move forward with the new party.