Diplomatic Community Briefed on Reasons for Postponement of Election, Recent Unconstitutional Election

Addis Ababa The diplomatic community in Addis Ababa was briefed today on the current affairs of Ethiopia, particularly on how COVID-19 forced Ethiopia to postpone the general election in keeping with the Constitution and one of the 10 regional states, Tigray State, held unconstitutional election.

Briefing diplomats, Head of Public and International Relations at Democracy Building Center Biqila Hurrisa said “COVID-19 pandemic was the only reason for the postponement of the general election that was to take place in August 2020 in Ethiopia.”

Lots of preparations were made by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) when  COVID-19 emerged as a clear threat to the health of citizens and a democratic election.

He noted that elections have been postponed because of the pandemic not only in Ethiopia, but also in several countries. “Postponement of elections due to COVID-19 in not peculiar nature of Ethiopian system, but a global phenomena.”

According to the head, general elections of 18 countries, local and municipality elections of   38 countries, by elections of 14, and referendum of 8 countries were postponed. A total of 78 countries have postponed elections.

Elaborating on the situation in Ethiopia, he recalled that NEBE official declared that it could not administer the election due to the state of emergency declared to contain COVID-19 as  movements were restricted, among other measures.

Based on the decision of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, there was a need to find a constitutional solution to fill the gap as the election could not be held as scheduled, he stated.

Legal experts and independent researchers came up with various alternatives and  constitutional interpretation was accepted as a solution from among the alternatives.

Thus the case was brought to the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) which decided to postpone it for a maximum of one year.

Despite these, the Tigray Regional State ignored all the prevailing conditions, the decision passed by the  House of People’s Representatives and conducted unconstitutional election.

“The election was, therfore, unconstitutional, null and void, and unacceptable because it’s also the mandate of NEBE to conduct elections as per the Constitution.”

Following the unconstitutional election, the House of Federation decided to sever any kind of relationship with the regional legislative assembly and the higher executive body, Biqila pointed out.

The federal government is committed to protect the interests of people Tigray by directly supporting the public, social and development activities, he stressed.

The head underscored that, “Ethiopia’s transition to a democratic system should be made within the constitutional framework, and the regional government should operate within the constitutional mandate.”


Source: Ethiopia News agency

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