Enough political space in Ethiopia for political parties: PM advisor

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Addis Ababa, 14 May  2014 (WIC) – There is more than enough political space in Ethiopia for any political party who wish to conduct their political activities within the bounds of the law, an advisor to the Prime Minister said.

Abay Tsehaye, senior policy and research advisor to PM Hailemariam Desalegn with the rank of minister, made the remark in an exclusive interview with WIC.

“EPRDF [Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front] is a party which fought for freedom and democracy and hence it is committed for a healthy and lawful political participation to flourish in the country,” Abay said.

“There are enough rooms for any political party who are committed to play within the rules of the game,” Abay added.

There are some 23 political parties currently operating nationwide, according to data from the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). However, Abay feels many of the parties lack clear political agenda which benefits the people.

Abay said the political parties are, instead, engaged in spreading hatred and nitpicking the activities of the government. He said these are the reasons why most of the political parties in the country are weak and lack huge public support and not the narrowness or otherwise of the political space in the country.

“Those who complain that there is no enough political space for political parties in Ethiopia are those who want to cover-up their own internal weaknesses,” Abay said.

However, Abay remains optimist that as the country’s economic and political endeavors continue to grow, political parties with clear political ideology of their own which aims to benefit the people will also begin to emerge. Only then, Abay believes, can the EPRDF will witness genuine political contenders in the country.

“EPRDF’s aim is to create a democratic Ethiopia that respects all nations, nationalities and peoples equally and is committed to see healthy contesting political parties who are willing to be governed by the laws of the country,” he added.