Ethiopian PM promises electoral reform, opposition unconvinced

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Photo credit: Africanews

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Tuesday that his government is trying to reform the electoral system to include demands made by the opposition during recent violent protests.

His comment made during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the capital Addis Ababa was unconvincing to the opposition.

“We want to reform the electoral system so that the voices of those who are not represented can also be heard in Parliament,” Desalegn said.


“It’s too little, too late. The people demand much more than can be done during the next four years. This requires a fundamental change. A transitional government of national unity that includes all stakeholders.”


“Our democratization process is still in its infancy. We want to go further in opening up the political space and engagement with civil society,” he added after Angela Merkel called on the government to include opposition groups in the country’s political process.

The opposition rubbished the Prime Minister’s claims making reference to failed promises in the past.

“It’s too little, too late. The people demand much more than can be done during the next four years. This requires a fundamental change. A transitional government of national unity that includes all stakeholders,” Merera Gudina, president of the Oromo People’s Congress told AFP.

“The regime has always promised things to satisfy the international community, but never implement them,” he added.

The Ethiopian parliament has no independent or opposition member represented after the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won all the seats in the 2015 contested elections.

Ethiopia has over the last 11 months experienced anti-government protests resulting in bloody clashes with security forces.

Rights groups estimate that over 500 protesters have been killed so far.