Addis Ababa October 10, 2016 The country needs to widen the political and democratic platforms and provide a legal framework to represent a variety of voices and provide diverse political interests before the next election, President Mulatu Teshome said.
Recalling the last two elections in which the ruling party and its allies won 99.9% and 100% of the seats in the House of People’s Representatives as “free and fair”, the president said “Although, all those seats were won through free and fair periodic elections, the result left the substantial number of votes given to opposition parties unrepresented in the House of Peoples’ Representatives.”
He noted that the effort to build a democratic system needs to give no less attention to directly involve citizens in civil society and engage with intellectuals working in higher educational institutions and different national and international institutions.
“In this regard, the government will continue to build on those platforms that have already been set up. It will also work to expand the options available,” President Mulatu told the joint session of the two Houses that opened today.
There is no doubt that debating platforms and assemblies where ideas important for building a democratic culture can be aired are a critical element of building democracy and democratic system, he added.
Creating an ethical and civic-minded generation is also another issue imperative for building democracy, according to the president.
Mulatu emphasized that active engagement and civic participation of citizens who stand up for their rights and carry out their responsibilities is indispensable for sustainable development in any political community.
As the country is home of diverse societies and interests led by the principle of democratic constitutionalism, there is a natural requirement to build consensus and compromise among the needs of those societies, he concluded.