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News: EPRDF EC endorses “scientific study” recommendation to split SNNPR into two, postpones unification talks

Part of the pictures released by EPRDF secretariat earlier today show participants of the EC meeting, including those from EPRDF’s sister parties

Addis Standard staffs

Addis Abeba, August 09/2019 – After two days closed door meeting, the Executive Committee (EC) of the ruling coalition EPRDF has ended its meeting late this evening by endorsing the recommendation made by recent “Scientific study” to split the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Regional State (SNNPRS) into two regional states, and postponing talks for the unification of the coalition for the next meeting, possibly in three weeks time, Addis Standard learnt.

According to information obtained by Addis Standard, in its two days deliberations the EC discussed two documents: the current state of the coalition, including evaluation of performance reports of the four major parties that make up EPRDF; and the future of the status of the SNNP regional state.

The first document contained details on the current state of the coalition. Accordingly, other than evaluating the performance report of each parties, the issue of going forward with the possibilities of forming a united party out of the four major and five sister parties that make up EPRDF was raised and discussed, but it was postponed for another meeting due mainly to the request by TPLF to postpone the talks. Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), chairman of TPLF, has been a critique of the notion especially after PM Abiy Ahmed said back in March 2019 that the coalition will unify to form a single, nationwide party in a few months time.

Debretsion was a notable absentee from the just finished EC meeting. But on the other hand, senior party leaders of the five sister parties representing Somali, Afar, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella and Harari regional states have all attended the meeting. Previously, the EPRDF EC meetings were exclusively reserved for the 36 members drawn from the four major parties: ODP, ADP, SEPDM and TPLF (nine members from each).

Included in the discussion under the document regarding the status of the coalition was the status of the next general election, scheduled to take place in May 2020. To that end the EC agreed that EPRDF’s stand will be to hold the general election on schedule.

The second document discussed by the EC was the status of SNNP regional state and the “scientific study” commissioned by Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM), one of the four major parties constituting EPRDF, which is governing the SNNPRS.

The “sceintific study”, which SEPDM said was conducted over a period of seven months and involved a group of 20 experts, forwarded the following recommendations: for SNNP regional state to stay as it is now; to split the region into two: i.e. having the Sidama regional state and keeping the rest intact; or, as a sub-option, to split the region into three to five regional states; and finally, a recommendation to delay formation of any new regional state.

Accordingly, the EC endorsed the recommendation to split the SNNPRS into: having the Sidama regional state and keeping the rest intact, Addis Standard learned. AS

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