Ethiopian parties form alliance, accuse government

gebru asrat
February 21, 2009

“Violations of democratic rights come… at a time when the general election is only a few months away,” UEDF leader Beyene Petros told reporters in the capital Addis Ababa. “The political space (should be) made conducive for free and fair elections”.
Analysts say the government of Prime Minister Meles Zanawi is likely to win next year’s poll as the opposition has been weakened since a 2005 parliamentary election ended in violence that killed 199 civilians.

Bereket Simon, the government’s head of information, rejected opposition claims the scope for political activity in Ethiopia was too restricted as “baseless accusations”.

Independent structure and leadership

“The political space is continually widening. We welcome the forming of this alliance. We believe it is good for Ethiopian democracy to see parties with the same programmes forming together,” he told Reuters.

Ethiopian opposition parties routinely accuse the government of harassment and say their candidates were intimidated when Ethiopians went to the polls last April for local elections.

The six parties will contest next year’s election under the banner of the Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (FDEE), while maintaining their independent structure and leadership.

The FDEE called on Thursday for Birtukan to be freed from prison, along with “several other Ethiopians incarcerated on political grounds”.

They did not name the other prisoners.

Birtukan has been in solitary confinement since December and went on a hunger strike for 13 days last month.

She was jailed after the 2005 poll, pardoned in 2007 and rearrested last year.

Gebru Asrat, leader of the Arena Tigray for Democracy and Sovereignty Party, will serve as chairman of the alliance.

The other parties are the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), the Ethiopian Democratic Unity Movement (EDUM) and the Somali Democratic Alliance Forces (SDAF).


10 comments on “Ethiopian parties form alliance, accuse government

  1. The only person that might give Ato Meles’ goverment a challange is Gebru Asrat, especially in the Tigray region. Gebru is a former TPLF central committee member and he can take advantage of it by winning the trust of loyal members and sympathisers of the TPLF and some of the Tigray people.

  2. Kebede, you may be right but to achieve what? Is it just for sake of change or to bring about a substantive economic and political change? Though I support formation political movements, I do not expect to see a shift from TPLF/EPRDF policies. Ethiopian opposition must come out a strategic alliance to start regroup around core values and beliefs, not the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The enemy of my enemy alliance did not help to create a sustainable alliance. It was only lead to failure and disaster.

  3. I hope he will bring a difference in Ethiopian Politics. TPLF knows his strength and he is a threat to them. But he needs real public support. The recent talk he made with VOA reflects his deep knowledge in geopolitcs. After all he has strong stand about Ethio-Eritrea relation unlike TPLF who are more of Eritrean than Ethiopia. It was this that caused the split of TPLF. Be alart!

  4. Some people say UDJ betrayed Ethiopian people by joining Medrek. These same people fail to ask why in the first place UDJ guys tried to cheat us by telling white lies saying they have opened hundreds of offices and made a budget of more than 8 million birr. UDJ’s recent attachment to Medrek does not show us the strength of the party rather it shows that UDJ is like a lost ship drifting aimlessly to no known direction.

  5. Well i am hoping that we may have leaders whom should not stick for our deadly enemies any more!!………. shaebia should lead only Eritrea not Ethiopia!!!

  6. Why you guys are waiting EPRDF by any one with out looking to the pros and cons of the consequences. You know you need to be rational to support or not, and have a reason for why? You need to accept that EPRDF is an Ethiopian, but with not appropriate policies and other related issues. You shouted for the last 18 years claiming that EPRDF is not an Ethiopian, but this does not bring any solution to the existing situation. We need an opposition who have a clear direction, policy, strategy… in which we can choose above and beyond the EPRDF’s policy, strategy……nothing more nothing less. Insulting means nothing but lack of knowledge to demonstrate or express an idea which weighs to the other.
    Have a nice day all!!

  7. I am dissappointed.
    I would rather have a coalition betwee the national parties such as AEUP, UDJ and EDP. But for UDJ to create a coalition with ethnic based parties such as Arena Tigria – simply does not make sense.

    Arena Tigria is not Arena Ethiopia. It is a regional based party with regional interest like so many region or ethnic based parties. So one would ask – why on earth UDJ who claims to inherit the former national party the CUD – even think of to create an alliace with the likes of Siyie Abraha & Arena Tigrai.? Ato Tase was on the air Saturday to answer that question, but he couldn’t answer it at all. He is vague and at times disoriented.

    I will not be surprised if there is some kind of pressure on these people behind this tragedy.

    In all due respect to Ato Siyie Abraha and Dr. Beyene Petros, I would suggest for the good people of UDJ to pull out of MEDREK – and formally and in public ask the AEUP to join them for the common cause. Make it in public so that they can’t refuse – and leave the invitation with the people of Ethiopia to follow up on it.

    This is a tragedy. Other wise the UDJ will die a slow death.

  8. i do not think arena is regional party. the reason they say arena Tigria is to show the rest of Ethiopia that there an opposition party in Tigria. not every body who is Tigray is a supporter of TPLF. as the rest of the ethiopian people the people in tigria needs better economy and democracy, and for sake of those narrow minded people who think the people of Tigria will never oppose the ruling party Arena tigria is the proof that the tigria people had enough as the rest of ethiopian people.

  9. immagin some people say tigriance are not
    opposed TPLF , this is compltilly wrong,
    the people of Tigray are the same like the other sides
    of the country peoples need freedom & democracy.

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