ADDIS ABABA– Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed disclosed his government’s decision to embark on swift reform of democratic institutions so as to ensure the upcoming general election is free and fair.

Abiy, while addressing the closing session of the 11th Congress of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition – the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), on Saturday in Ethiopia’s southern city of Hawassa, stressed that the congress has set directions for the reform of existing laws, regulations, and directives.

Abiy, who urged Ethiopia’s competing political parties to prepare themselves for the election, said that the Ethiopian government “will reform democratic institutions to make the upcoming election democratic”.

Abiy’s comments came as the east African country recently embarked on preparations to undertake its next general election, due in 2020.

Abiy had previously ruled out suggestions by various Ethiopian political analysts that the upcoming elections should be delayed, with due emphasis given to Abiy’s appointment as the country’s PM in April this year following the resignation of former PM Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned following crippling strikes that rocked different parts of the country since the second half of 2016.

According to Abiy, the ruling party during its three-day congress has also “confirmed its unity more than ever before.”

Ensuring rule of law, addressing unemployment and reducing poverty in urban areas were among the major decisions that the EPRDF congress meeting emphasized, according to the premier.

The ruling coalition, which commenced its 11th Congress meeting on Wednesday under the theme “National Unity for All Rounded Prosperity,” on Friday concluded its closed meeting while the official closing ceremony was held on Saturday.

According to EPRDF’s congress meeting’s final outcome that was issued late on Friday, member participants have commended and vowed to sustain recent gains as the east African country’s government embarked on extensive reform processes over the past 6 months.

The EPRDF Congress, among other recent successes, hailed the peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea as well the positive diplomatic ties among countries within the Horn of Africa region.

The ruling coalition further stressed on the “no tolerance” strategy in the fight against maladministration, organized corruption and disorder.

EPRDF, during its just-concluded congress meeting, has also re-elected Abiy and Demeke Mekonnen as its Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, respectively. Mekonnen is also Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister.