EPRDF executive committee to discuss the leadership vacancy; likely to pick prime minister sometime next week
February 7, 2018
The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) disclosed today that it will be holding its executive meeting starting March 11. Shiferaw Shigute, head of EPRDF office and apparently one of the candidates for prime minister position, announced the news to state and affiliated media outlets in Addis Ababa.
The executive committee is a 36 member highest body of the ruling party and draws its membership from the four ethnic parties that constitute the ruling coalition. Each ethnic party is represented by 9 members.
EPRDF has postponed executive meeting at least two times before due to the crisis situation in the country.
In a statement, it issued on its social media page this morning the party said that the upcoming meeting will evaluate the implementation of decisions passed during the executive committee meetings in December 2017.
The executive meeting will also aims to fill the vacant leadership position that Hailemariam Desalegn created after he announced his resignation a day before the decree of the state of emergency a fortnight ago. The selection of prime minister is expected to exacerbate internal problems of the party.
Shiferaw Shigute claims that there was a consensus between EPRDF member parties during the December 2017 meeting to declare a state of emergency if the security condition in the country is not improving. He added that the current state of emergency was declared due to the situation in what he called “some parts of Oromia region of Ethiopia and Eastern Amhara.”
However, it is apparent that the declaration of the martial law two weeks ago has caused a discord within the ruling party so much so that over 100 members of parliament failed to show up for an emergency parliamentary meeting on last Friday which was called to approve the state of emergency. 88 members of the parliament voted against it while 7 members of parliament abstained. The opposition came from members of parliament from the two regions of Ethiopia, mentioned above, and the pretext for the state of emergency was the situation in those areas.
Yesterday, Oromo Federalist Congress, the largest ethnic-based party in the country, issued a statement condemning and rejecting the martial law and implicated government authorities in the deaths and sufferings of civilians in Oromo region of Ethiopia since its declaration.
According to Shiferaw, the executive meeting will be followed by EPRDF council meeting which is composed of 180 members and will pick and announce the next prime minister.
The rift within the party is now public. For some observers, the differences are irreconcilable due to intransigence on the part of the dominant party in the ruling coalition, Tigray people’s Liberation Front, which represents only six percent oft the entire population, on principlies of equality and equitable resource and power sharing. The party has firm control over the military,intelligence and security apparatus and is belived to have amassed resources in a corrupt manner so as to create wealth for its ethnic support base in northern Ethiopia.
United States’ Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is arriving in Ethiopia today, is expected to discuss “transition” and institutional reform with the authorities.
Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena