Nine opposition parties have formed a platform for cooperation to stand together in the upcoming election and, in the long run, to create a platform where the parties can work together to ensure the existence of free, fair, participatory and credible elections, to expand the political space and to work on issues related to human and democratic rights of citizens.
The cooperation between these parties was disclosed on October 22 at the offices of the Semayawi Party (Blue) and, according to the statement given by the organizers of the cooperation, Yilikal Getnet (Eng.) of Semaywi Party and Girma Bekele of the Omo Peoples' Democratic Unity were elected as chairman and secretary of the cooperation, respectively.
The nine parties that formed the cooperation are the All Ethiopian Unity Organization (AEUO), the All Ethiopian Democratic Party (AEDP), All Amhara People's Organization (AAPO), Semayawi Party, Sodo Gordena Peoples' Democratic Organization (SGPDO), Ethiopian National Unity Party (ENUP), Omo Peoples' Democratic Union (OPDU), Kembata Peoples' Congress (KPC), and Gedio People's Democratic Organization (GPDO).
The cooperation is mainly aimed at creating an environment for a free, fair, participatory and credible election, expanding the political space and ensuring citizens human and democratic rights .And, apart from these issues related to the upcoming national election, the parties also aim at creating one strong alliance to ensure these political demands, the leaders said during the press conference.
Members of the parties in the cooperation are both national and regional-based and in response to The Reporter's questions regarding the impact the cooperation would have on future relations, the leaders replied: "Since we have been working together for a long it doesn't impose challenges in our relation in the future."
By the same token, since the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is the authoritative body in relation to parties' affairs the leaders were also asked about their relation with the board and in this regard, "We are allowed to cooperate any time without notifying the board, therefore we don't have to give any notification to the board," the secretary of the cooperation said.
The leaders of the cooperation stated that they were revising and identifying the major pitfalls of the opposition camps in relation to working together. "We found out that the major reason for the failure of the opposition parties to work together was the problems in the internal democracy of the parties and the supremacy of individuals above the parties, and since we identified these as major challenges we are able not to be trapped by the same challenges in this cooperation," the leaders said.
They also said that since the failed coalition that occurred in the 2005 elections, there were many other initiatives and it is obvious that the initiatives to work together in the opposition camps is lagging behind and this cooperation is aimed at its best to change this attitude through society.
During the course of the negotiation there were about 12 parties engaged in the process until the final stage and parties like Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) and other parties from Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (Medrek) were not signing the cooperation agreement due to some technical difficulties, however, they said that they would be back soon after finalizing their issues, according to the chairman and the secretary.