Ethiopian Democratic Party

The Ethiopian Democratic Party (Amharic: ከኢትዮጵያዊያን ዴሞክራሲያዊ ፓርቲ)[romanization needed] is a political party in Ethiopia. The result of no less than five mergers of liberal and conservative liberal opposition parties, it could trace its roots to the Ethiopian Democratic Union, which mounted armed monarchist resistance to the Derg in the immediate aftermath of the overthrow of Haile Selassie I. In the legislative elections held on 15 May 2005, the United Ethiopian Democratic Party – Medhin, as it was then known, was part of the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces, that won 52 out of 527 seats in the Council of People's Representatives. It won no seats in the 2010 elections.

Ethiopian Democratic Party
Amharic: የኢትዮጵያውያን ዴሞክራሲያዊ ፓርቲ
PresidentAdane Tadesse
Secretary-GeneralSahlu Baye
Founded1974 (EDU)
1999 (EDP)
DissolvedJanuary 2021
Merged intoHibir Ethiopia Democratic Party
HeadquartersAddis Ababa
IdeologyLiberal nationalism
Economic liberalism
Ethiopian nationalism
Political positionCentre
Regional affiliationAfrica Liberal Network
International affiliationLiberal International

Founding, mergers, and consolidation edit

In October 1999, the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) was registered following "40 weeks of political discussion". In mid-2000, the party held its first congress, electing Admassu Gebeyehu, Hailu Araya and Lidetu Ayalew as Chairman, Vice Chairman, and General Secretary, respectively.[1]

In September 2003, the EDP merged with the Ethiopian Democratic Union, becoming the United Ethiopian Democratic Party.[1] Mengesha Seyoum became the party's honorary chairman, but played little role in the party administration, living in exile, and the post was quietly abolished.

In September 2004, it merged with the Ethiopian Medhin (Salvation) Democratic Party founded by former Foreign Minister Goshu Wolde and became the United Ethiopian Democratic Party – Medhin.[1][2] In early 2005, it absorbed the short-lived Ethiopian Democratic Action Group of Sophia Yilma, daughter of former Minister of Finance Yilma Deressa.[3] In August 2005, Lidetu Ayalew was elected Party President, Sophia Yilma Vice President, and Mushe Semu Secretary General.[1]

Merger history edit

The following is an illustration of the party's mergers and name changes.

Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP)
(renamed 2007)
      UEDP – Medhin       
(merged 2004)
United Ethiopian Democratic Party (UEDP)
(merged 2003)

Ethiopian Democratic Union (EDU)

Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP)

Ethiopian Medhin Democratic Party (EMDP)

Ethiopian Democratic Action Group (EDAG)

Electoral performance edit

It agreed to contest the 2005 parliamentary elections as part of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), winning 52 seats. It was one of the few to take their seats in parliament, splitting with the remainder of the coalition.[3]

There were soon inner power struggles within the CUD, however. Former Chairman Hailu Araya had backed the leadership of Berhanu Nega, but was defeated in the Party Congress in August. Lidetu and Mushe were suspended from the CUD Central Council in October, and the party central committee voted to leave the coalition.[4]

Lidetu was a victim of character assassination and defamation following the 2005 elections by the former CUD leaders. However, the election campaign in 2010 revealed that Lidetu and his party were not behind the unsuccessful unity.[5] Despite this vindication, the party did not win any seats in the election, with the opposition overall winning only one seat.

UEDP-Medhin at present uses its original name EDP – Ethiopian Democratic Party.[6] In March 2011, Mushe Semu became party president, succeeding Lidetu.[7]

Political positions edit

The EDP is one of the few Ethiopian parties with non-leftist origins, and had ties with the pre-revolutionary establishment.[8] Correspondingly, it takes strong exception to the "ethnic federalist" and "democratic developmentalist" ideology of the ruling EPRDF.[9]

Approach to governance and politics edit

The EDP is strongly opposed to the policy of Ethnic federalism and the division of Ethiopia on ethnic lines, supporting the restoration of the traditional provinces of Ethiopia within a federalist structure.[10] It also supports the establishment of an independent judiciary, the observance of rule of law and human rights, as well as the strengthening of the rights of the federal regions. It rejects ethnic politics and as well as the general left-wing discourse of Ethiopian government.[10]

However, it is supportive of peaceful opposition and opposes armed struggle against the present government, condemning the endorsement of Berhanu Nega for the establishment of an armed resistance (later actualised as the "Ginbot 7 Popular Force") against the EPRDF government.[11] It was this refusal to support armed struggle that was behind much of the allegations that the EDP was insufficiently opposed to or in collaboration with the EPRDF in the run-up to the 2010 elections.

Economic positions edit

Opposing the state interventionist policies of the government, the party contends that government policies have weakened the Ethiopian private sector and hampered prospects for long-term growth. It opposes continued state ownership of land and supports the reform to allow for private ownership of land, as well as increasing the property rights of smallholders. It is opposed to the price controls imposed to counter the high rate of inflation, saying that expansionary fiscal policies were to blame, and that punishing lending requirements on the private sector- private banks are required to set aside 27% of their lending for treasury bonds to fund large infrastructure projects- were hampering the economy, a position supported by the IMF, World Bank, and pro-business Ethiopian organisations like the Chamber of commerce and Capital Ethiopia.[9]

Party leaders edit

Ethiopian Democratic Union edit

Ethiopian Democratic Party edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d Berhane, Daniel (29 March 2011). "MUSHE SEMU REPLACES LIDETU AYALEW |". Daniel Berhane's Blog. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  2. ^ "ALPHABET SOUP". Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b Wagle, Mary–Jane. "Sophie Yilma Deressa". Ethiopian Women Unleashed. HBF Ethiopia. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  4. ^ Leaders of UEDP-Medhin Archived 19 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine (UEDP-Medhin website)
  5. ^ "Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and its Discontents; Africa Report No. 153 – 4 September 2009" Archived 19 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine, International Crisis Group, p. 10 (accessed 16 November 2009)
  6. ^ Ashenafi, Neamin (16 November 2013). "Police crackdown". The Reporter. Archived from the original on 21 November 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Emotional Farewell as Lidetu Steps Down". Ethiopian Democratic Party. The Reporter. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Ethiopia: Status of Amhara". Ethiopia Country Report. Immigration and Naturalization Service Resource Information Center. 6 April 1993. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Interview with Mushe Semu, President of Ethiopian Democratic Party". Ethiopian Democratic Party. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Ethiopian Democratic Party – Ethiopia". Africa Liberal Network. Archived from the original on 11 February 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) condemned the Ginbot 7 organization' s support for armed struggle". Retrieved 18 November 2013.