Negotiations on national consensus still pending
The Political Parties Negotiation Forum, which resumed its interrupted negotiation process last week, proceeded to pre-negotiations on how to undertake the negotiation on the agenda of national consensus. However, the Forum has again failed to reach an agreement on the modalities of the negotiation and postponed the pre-negotiation to Tuesday 12, 2018.
As they did in their first round of negotiations, the 16 political parties negotiation forum that comprises 15 national opposition political parties and the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) held its half day discussion on Tuesday, mostly talking about the modalities of dealing with the agenda of “building national consensus.”
During the pre-negotiation forum held on Tuesday, Degefe Bula one of the negotiators representing EPRDF stated that his party is ready to deliberate on the issues in any way the opposition wanted the negotiations to be conducted.
Though Degefe exposed the readiness of his party for the negotiation on the agenda; opposition parties that are engaged in the negotiation came up with different modalities on how they could proceed.
In this regard, a group of 11 parties that forge a unity for the purpose of this negotiation proposed that the committee of seven individuals that comprise two members from EPRDF and five from the opposition should be established to lead the negotiation.
To the contrary, four parties in the negotiation opposed this proposal by the 11 parties and want to pursue the negotiation as it was conducted previously. However, parties in this group also proposed ‘professionals’ which can help the parties in organizing the issues they presented to the negotiators.
Following the heated debate between the opposition parties, the mediator of the negotiation intervened and gave another appointment for next week Tuesday. However, Wasihun Tesfaye, deputy moderator finally stated that “if the parties failed to agree on the modalities of the negotiation proposed by the parties, the negotiation will be continued as the previous ones were conducted.”
So far, the ruling party and the national opposition parties have agreed to amend the existing Revised Political Parties’ Registration Proclamation No. 573/2008 and Electoral Law of Ethiopia Proclamation No. 532/2007.
As a result of the ongoing negotiations, the parties have agreed to change the electoral system of the country to a mixed electoral system. This is said to be consequential in terms of triggering constitutional amendment and changing the size of the nation’s law-making body.