Parties forward motives for, against constitutional options

From the time when the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced its decision to postpone August’s parliamentary elections due to the coronavirus outbreak, various political parties are still reflecting different perspectives, despite endorsed by the House of People’s Representatives.

Of the disputes, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) disproved all of the four alternatives tabled by the federal government, and decided to hold the upcoming elections separately at the regional level.

As in its statement on Tuesday, the TPLF’s Executive Committee blamed the Prosperity Party (PP) that it had no intention of holding elections in the constitutional timeline, and wanted to use COVID-19 as a pretext to lay the groundwork for the formation of a one-man authoritarian system and the unconstitutional prolongation of its rule.

In this regard, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Ph.D) has recently warned that the government will take all the necessary measures against the effort to subvert the constitution and the constitutional order Any attempt to acquire power without legal elections are intolerable as enshrined in the Constitution as well as other local and international laws.

Member of the Executive Committee of TPLF, Getachew Reda, said that constitutional interpretations are necessary only with respect to provisions that might be considered ambiguous, not for the purpose of extending one’s tenure in office.

As to him, together with the people of Tigray as well as other political actors, the TPLF will make region-wide preparations to hold regional elections considering the campaign against COVID-19 as well as relevant constitutional principles into account, he discussed with TG TV.

But, some political parties including those who are affiliated with Tigray regional state have been questioning about the legitimacy of the election to be made without the recognition of the NEBE.

Aregawi Berhe (Ph.D), Chairman of Tigray Democratic Party, told local media journalists yesterday that the decision to postpone the next national election is trustworthy considering both the political situation and the legal background. “The motives, of some political parties who are claiming to hold election as well as to form transitional government, are undesirable and can be considered as a decision that neglects the current situation,” Aregawi stated.

According to Aregawi, TPLF’s intention to hold national election is not to show respect for the constitution; because, it has never respected the constitution since the beginning. TPLF’s activity to hold urgent regional election will cause the country and the people enter into turmoil, he warned.

“The TPLF by itself has no moral stance to safeguard the constitution, since it has decided to hold illegal regional election without the recognition of the electoral board which is solely accredited by the constitution.”

Since the electoral board has the power and mandate to halt illegal activities of any political parties, it should cancel TPLF’s registration as political party, Aregawi cautioned.

As the election process should run in stable social and political environment, the extension of electoral schedule is a proper measure to make free, fair and democratic election in the country, Aregawi advised. Tesfakiros, member of Salsay Woyanie Party, says the election should take place in its constitutional schedule amid the challenges with the fight against coronavirus.

If the federal government could not able to hold the national election on schedule, states will be urged to take out their representation from the house of federation; and to run their own electoral process at regional level, he stated.

According to Tesfakiros Arefe, after conducting a separate regional election, states will soon form a federal government and shall give their representation again to the House of Federation.

On the other hand, the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) explained, in its statement yesterday, that the party expected the House of Federation and the Council of Constitutional Inquiry to come up with the possible solution.

NAMA believes that the incumbent has to continue in power till the coming election is legally held. Supporting the postponement of the election 2020 schedule, NAMA condemned the intention of some political parties who want to push unconstitutional means to come to power.

The Ethiopia Herald May, 9/2020

BY ZELALEM GIRMA

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