Press Release

UEDF chairmen relieved of posts
October 26, 2005

UEDF leaders Merera Gudina and Beyene Petros relieved of posts The Executive Committee of the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces, in its extraordinary session of October 24, 2005, has relieved Dr. Beyene Petros and Dr. Merera Gudina, of their responsibilities as the Chairman and First Vice Chairman of UEDF, respectively. The Executive Committee reached its decision after extensive deliberation and after establishing the fact that the Chairman and First Vice Chairman, acted in contravention of the decisions of both the National Council and the Executive Committee of UEDF.

The historic and unprecedented May 1997 election in Ethiopia was marred by massive irregularities and vote rigging. The hope and aspirations of the Ethiopian people for their expressed will to prevail were dashed by the irresponsible and fraudulent actions of the ruling government and the partisanship of National Election Board (NEBE) of Ethiopia. The attempt to rectify the irregularities and electoral fraud through the establishment of Complaint Investigation Panels was also thwarted by the ruling government and NEBE.

Peaceful protesters were violently put down by the government and as a result many innocent lives were lost, many were maimed, still more were imprisoned. Supporters and members of the opposition lost their properties and/or their jobs, all in the struggle to vindicate the sovereignty of the voter and the integrity of the electoral process.

In spite of the judgment of the international observer missions that the election process failed to meet international standards, the regime unilaterally declared itself the winner of the election and proceeded to form a new government where it claims to control the majority of parliamentary seats although over 50% (299) of the 547 seats are still in contention.

UEDF does not accept the validity of the election results as declared by the ruling party. Nor does it accept and the legitimacy of the newly formed government. Accordingly, UEDF has resolved to continue to resist peacefully the undemocratic and dictatorial actions of the regime and to work, in collaboration with all other democratic forces, to bring about changes in the political system so as to insure that the will of the Ethiopian people is respected.

After carefully reviewing all the circumstances surrounding the election and consistent with the National Council's provisions, decisions and UEDF's political program the Executive Committee has determined by a ten to three majority vote not to take seats in and be part of the illegal EPRDF controlled Parliament. The decision taken by the Chairman and First Vice Chairman to participate in the illegally formed parliament, therefore, was clearly a breach of UEDF By-laws, organizational rules and a flagrant violation of UEDF National Council and the October 6, 2005 Executive Committee decisions.

Accordingly, effective immediately, Drs. Beyene and Merera have been relieved of their responsibilities for violation of UEDF National Council and Executive Committee decisions and have no authority to represent or otherwise speak in behalf of UEDF.

Pursuant to our Bylaws, the current Vice Chairman Ato Girma Shumie and the Secretary-General Ato Dereje Kebede are hereby authorized to represent UEDF pending new elections.

Since its inception as a coalition of 15 political organizations in August 2003, UEDF has spearheaded the peaceful struggle of the Ethiopian people for the attainment of peace, political stability, democratization and reconciliation in Ethiopia. It will continue its peaceful struggle until the Ethiopian people reclaimed their inalienable rights to be the source of political power.

The will of the people shall be respected!
Long live Ethiopia!!
The Executive Committee of United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF)

The original UEDF press release in pdf is available