The merging of the old Ethiopian ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), seems inevitable despite the controversies. The prime minister looks determined to push forward the idea of forming one national political party.
EPRDF is an alliance of four political parties, namely, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), and Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). Of these three of them are ethnic parties, and SEPDM is a party that represents multiple ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia.
The TPLF and Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement (EPDM), now called ADP, formed EPRDF in early 1989. Later on, the other parties joined the coalition.
Threatening remarks are being heard from TPLF and the Oromo nationalists. TPLF described the merging idea as the ‘move to form a unitary system in the country,’ and it warned that this decision could result in the ‘demolition of not just EPRDF but the country as well.’
Furthermore, TPLF picked a quarrel with ADP multiple times this year, and both had exchanged statements that show that they could no longer work together in the same party.
Prime minister Abiy said that ‘TPLF was the leading advocate of the idea of the unification.’ But now it is trying to make it look like a sudden idea proposed by the new reform group in the government, which is led by the PM.
Some of the Oromo nationalists, on the other hand, opposed the idea to be implemented by the head of their ethnic party. They warned that violence would occur if the decision is made. Jawar Mohammed, Oromo activist, and director of Oromia Media Network said that the plan of the prime minister is intended to ‘stay on power.’
Despite all controversies and oppositions, all of EPRDF member parties but TPLF accepted the merger. Amhara Democratic Party(ADP), one of the founding members of EPRDF, revealed that it has decided to be merged to the new national party. “ADP decided to be merged in the multiethnic national party considering it as a way to implement true federalism in Ethiopia,” said Melaku Alebel, Deputy President of the Amhara region.
According to some local reports, the executive committee of EPRDF will pass a decision on the merger this week. The decision will probably be the first step to the end of an old party, which ruled Ethiopia for the past three decades.