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Ethiopian Opposition parties met with Abiy Ahmed following banknote changes

His meeting with Ethiopian opposition came a day after his government announced changed to Ethiopian birr banknotes – a project which was said to be highly secretive.

Ethiopian Opposition _ PM Abiy
PM ABiy Ahmed (Photo : OPM)

September 16, 2020

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with the opposition party leaders in the country on Tuesday. It is unclear if the meeting was a scheduled one or it was one which was called with short notice.

There seems to be a pattern that the Prime Minister is meeting with opposition leaders following major developments in the country. The last time he had a meeting with them was in July 2020 following a euphoric experience in the country due to the completion of the first phase of the filling of the Grand Renaissance Dam  – which was largely possible due to heavy rainfall that Ethiopia received during the first few weeks of July.

His meeting with the opposition on Tuesday, this week, came just a day after his government announced new banknotes of bigger denominations and the introduction of a new, and biggest denominations. It may sound like a show of power on the part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.  For critical political voices in the country, the action was a bit late. The government explained the introduction of the new currency as an important step in the fight against corruption and illicit trade. People in the opposition, however, sees it as a step in the right direction in terms of making a colossal reserve of cash that the former dominant political forces, TPLF, are said to have. The announcement of the new banknotes came in the aftermath of an election in Tigray region of Ethiopia the result of which was a 99 percent win to TPLF.

The meeting on Tuesday was with both national and regional political parties. According to a report by the state media, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), the focus was to evaluate previous meetings which aimed at reaching national consensus and to determine agenda items and conditions for future dialogue.

Identifying sources of contradictions in the Ethiopian constitution and constitutionalism, election, the nature of a political organization, and formation of an alliance among political parties are among the issues pined for the next level of conversation between the government ( or Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed more precisely) and the opposition forces, as reported by EBC.

According to the report, four politicians from the opposition (whose identities are unknown yet) will present a paper on the selected topic. As to who is selecting the topics and the presenters, and on what basis is not indicated in the report. What is known is that when Abiy Ahmed meets with the opposition next time, the electoral system and execution of the election is said to be a major agenda item.

The Ethiopian House of Federation and The House of Representatives postponed the six-general election, which was supposed to take place in August 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic in the country. The terms of the Federal and regional house of representatives for up to nine months after the coronavirus is declared “no longer a threat to public health.” TPLF’s regional election in North Ethiopia took place against the Federal government decision and the House of Federation has rejected it as “illegal.”

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