Oromo People's Congress

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The Oromo People's Congress (OPC) is a major opposition political parties in Ethiopia. It was founded in April 1996 as the Oromo National Congress by Dr. Merera Gudina, who is its chairman. However, the party licence and name were allegedly given to a marginal splinter group by the National Election Board of Ethiopia in order to undermine the party and create confusion among the voters after the May 2005 election, so the party was forced to change its name to Oromo People's Congress prior to the 2008 by-elections.[1]

2005 election results[edit]

Until the 2005 Ethiopian general elections the OPC had not attempted to build a permanent base of support outside its leader’s home region in Ambo woreda.[2] In that election, as the Oromo National Congress the party was part of the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces, that won 52 out of 527 seats in the Council of People's Representatives; the party won 42 seats in the Federal Parliament and 135 seats in the Oromia regional parliament in its own name.[3]

Recent developments[edit]

  • The leadership of OPC was one of the founding members of the Forum for Democratic Dialogue (FDD). The creation of the Forum was agreed upon on June 17, 2007.[4]
  • OPC formed a coalition with the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement in January 2009, according to a press release issued by both parties.[5]
  • The OPC issued a press release on 5 March 2009 claiming that the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front party committed three separate acts of harassment against its members during the prior weeks. These included a February incident where two teachers in Midakaegn woreda were severely beaten by the local police and woreda officials, and security personnel on 4 March surrounding the high school in Gedo then shooting at the students and wounding at least three (one died later in the hospital).[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lovise Aalen and Kjetil Tronvoll, "The 2008 Ethiopian local elections: The return of electoral authoritarianism", African Affairs, 108/430, p. 114 (accessed 17 March 2009)
  2. ^ "Ethiopia: Repression Sets Stage for Non-Competitive Elections", Human Rights Watch website (accessed 17 March 2009)
  3. ^ National Electoral Board of Ethiopia - Election results, mirrored copy at Archive.org (accessed 17 March 2009)
  4. ^ "Forum for Democratic Dialogue: New collection or coalition?", Capital Ethiopia website
  5. ^ "Oromia: OFDM and OPC to merge", Oromo News Blog 3 December 2008 (accessed 17 March 2009)
  6. ^ "EPRDF is still shooting to rule", OPC website (accessed 17 March 2009)