Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed today responded to queries raised by members of the House of People’s Representatives (parliament).
Commenting on concerns of the MPs regarding the 2020 general elections, the Prime Minister said “we are not immune from challenges in the election which will be conducted now or in the future.”
“Democracy needs exercise. If we say we cannot hold election now, it will bring a lot of problems. We should work wholeheartedly by building public trust.”
He said the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is now at a good position in terms of finance and capacity.
The government has put aside sufficient budget for the electoral board to make the election democratic and free, he said.
“The people of Ethiopia have taken lesson from the conflict that happened following the 2005 general elections. Ethiopians do not want conflicts arising in connection with elections,” he said.
“There are challenges; however, if the government and the public work in unison, they can address them,” the Prime Minister indicated.
He further said “it is possible to make the upcoming election better if media and civil society organizations (CSOs) fulfill their responsibilities and if political parties are ready to accept defeat and seize power when chosen.”
Regarding the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) plan to transform itself into a single party, the Prime Minister said the plan of forming a single party was under discussion for the past 10 years.
“During the Front’s conference held in Hawassa, a decision was made for the merger to take place ahead of the next conference of the Front. I have never heard an idea against the plan until now. But some individuals and parties raise their concern on the timing of the merger plan.”
The merger plan will be approved by the Council of EPRDF after the study conducted on it is reviewed, the Prime Minister noted.