The ruling bloc in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, the Oromo Democratic Party, ODP, continues building political alliances with competing parties ahead of elections slated for 2020.
ODP’s spokesperson, Taye Dendea, confirmed this information to the Voice of America’s Amharic service. He said the party was preparing to enter talks with over ten parties that shared a similar political agenda and plan of action.
Dendea added that further talks were being held with the Oromo Liberation Front, an ex-rebel group that returned from Eritrea after a peace deal was signed between the two countries in July this year.
ODP led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recently agreed a deal with the Oromo Democratic Front, ODF, led by Lencho Leta. The merger was announced in late November after a meeting between Leta and Oromia region president Lemma Megerssa.
The 2020 elections will be the first vote after Abiy began his sweeping reforms aimed at opening the country’s political and democratic space.
Abiy, an Oromo, has pledged to ensure that the vote is free, fair and credible and has stated publicly that he will handover power if the ruling Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF, lost.
He has held talks with registered opposition groups and nominated a new elections chief to undertake reforms of the electoral body in the lead up to the polls. Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge and political dissident has been praised as being a right fit for the job.
The Ethiopia People Revolutionary Democratic Front comprises four main blocs: