Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday met with members of 81 opposition parties to discuss ways of reforming the electoral system to ensure credible polls in the future.
Abiy in the meeting pledged to open up Ethiopia’s political field to interested parties to ensure fair participation.
The meeting focused “on highlighting the reforms required to ensure the upcoming election is free & fair, and the shared responsibilities of all,” his office said on Twitter. There was no immediate comment from opposition groups.
Abiy’s EPRDF coalition has been in power in Ethiopia – a major Western ally in an unstable region – since 1991. The grouping and affiliated parties hold all seats in parliament.
Last week he appointed Birtukan Mideksa as head of the board preparing for the next national elections, scheduled for 2020.
Birtukan was one of dozens of opposition figures arrested in the violent aftermath of a 2005 vote – when an opposition coalition stood against the government across the country, then challenged the EPRDF’s victory.
Ethiopia has more than 80 ethnicities and has designed its political system around regional ethnic groups.