Diplomats: Government is taking great initiative to advance democracy

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Diplomats of different foreign countries residing in Ethiopia commended the government’s initiative towards advancing democratic system in the country. The diplomats whom ENA has talked to following the briefing by the Foreign Minister about current situations of the country on Tuesday praised the ongoing political reforms towards widening the political space.

Finnish ambassador to Ethiopia, Helena Airaksien told ENA that the government is taking a good initiative towards enhancing democracy. She also said that her country welcomes the reform and hopes to see that it would continue from this vantage point. Mentioning that Finland follows mixed electoral system, which Ethiopia has set to implement; Airaksien said “we support the move of the government towards democratization”. The Ambassador said Finland is keen to share its experiences in deepening democracy. “I think the Ethiopian government is good in working with partners, they are ready to listen they are ready open dialogue and will definitely continue this dialogue on democratization process”

Australian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mark Sawers on his part appreciated the political reform as “an important announcement”. “We welcome the government’s move down this path in close cooperation with the opposition parties” Ambassador Sawers said. “As a development it is an important step towards opening up the political space to see more opportunity, different viewpoints to be heard in the political system” he emphasized.

Speaking of the role of the international community and partners in further enhancing the ongoing democratization process, the Australian ambassador said “What we can do is to support from the sideline through assistance and technical aspects of electoral form or funding”. “Of course what we want to see is Ethiopia moving in the direction it is trying to move forward with the reform and we think it is very important for Ethiopia’s long-term stability and future. It will also be very important for Ethiopia’s trajectory in terms of a developing country and the developmental role” he elaborated.

It is to be recalled that the ruling party – EPRDF – and 15 national political parties had been negotiating on various agendas over the past months within the agreed objectives of strengthening democratization and widening the political space. Accordingly, the negotiations that have been taking place have brought changes in the electoral system besides revising some of the country’s proclamations. Thus, under the new electoral law, Ethiopia will have a hybrid electoral system composed of 80 percent simple majority vote and 20 percent proportional. Agreement has also been reached among the negotiating parties in financing political parties.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

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