National Day 2010
A Promising Future for Democratic Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s National Day - 28th May - marks the demise of the Derg military regime that was in place from 1974 until 1991 when it was overthrown by a coalition of liberation forces which demanded a democratic system that recognised the rights and freedoms of all of Ethiopia’s many nationalities.
Ethiopia is now a country which embraces diversity. Together Ethiopians have built up a political process that respects and actively supports all stakeholders. This new political dispensation is a source of social harmony which has brought successive economic prosperity, especially in the last seven years when there has been double digit economic growth. This trend has been recognised and appreciated by the international community, especially by the World Bank and IMF, but also by others such as the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Africa, which recognises that Ethiopia is among the high-growth registering countries in Africa.
This positive trend is set to gather momentum because of the success of the recent internationally recognised national election, which attracted a voter turnout of over ninety per cent and which returned the ruling coalition to power with an overwhelming majority. This fourth national election galvanised the support of the people of Ethiopia and took place in an atmosphere of peaceful campaigning within a political system that has benefited from improvements over recent years such as the new parliamentary rules of procedure, the new press law and the code of conduct that governed the electoral process. The election took place in an atmosphere of peace and cooperation despite the actions of spoilers in the sub-region who sought to bring discord.
The Ethiopian government will continue to work to bring an end to poverty and to fully develop the democratic process. At a regional level, Ethiopia will continue to play its role as a democratic and stable nation in the Horn of Africa. It will continue to play a crucial role in bringing peace and stability in the region and encouraging economic integration and cooperation from which all the people of Africa could benefit. The government will continue to do its utmost as a bulwark for peace, stability and development. At a continental level Ethiopia has committed troops to peace-keeping in Rwanda, Liberia, Sudan and Burundi and is proud to be the 5th largest troop-contributor worldwide. Ethiopia encourages peace and international understanding. PM Meles is chair of the NEPAD peer group and represents Africa in the climate change negotiations. Ethiopia has served on the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and played a crucial role in IGAD (sub-regional organisation) and currently holds the chairmanship.
Ethiopia will continue to work with all peace-loving people of the sub-region, the continent, development partners and with the international community to achieve economic prosperity in a democratic system where the people enjoy the final say in deciding their own destiny.