The new Arena Tigrai for Democracy and Sovereignty, held its party congress in Mekelle on March 29-30, 2008. The party elected former head of Tigrai region, Gebru Asrat, chair of the party, and chose 15 central committee members. Members discussed what they called an unhealthy national economy and wrong political ideology forwarded by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). They proposed a national political party having coalition with other political parties in the country.
A letter released by the administrator of Mekelle’s ‘Kedamay Weyane,’ stated that Article 4 of Proclamation 2/1983 every person or party must ask permission 48 hours before a meeting or demonstration. The administrator therefore announced that the Arena Tigrai congress was unlawful.
In reply, Ato Gebru told VOA, “The congress was held according to the Ethiopian election board regulation,” which order newly registered political parties to hold a congress within six months of registration. “It is clear that the above law doesn’t concern the political party’s regular congress, if the multi-party system will ever practice in Ethiopia.”