Contrary to recent decision of Electoral Board of Ethiopia to suspend this year’s planned general election in the country because of COVID-19, Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) today decided to start preparation for holding general election in Tigray separately.
After leading the overthrow of the Derg Regime of Ethiopia in 1991 forming the ruling coalition Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), TPLF has been ruling the Tigray Region of Ethiopia for close to three decades. Speaking to the state broadcaster ETV, Birtukan Demeksa, head of National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, said the latest decision of TPLF to hold election in Tigray region is “unconstitutional”.
Based on the constitution of Ethiopia, the National Electoral Board is the only institution mandated to organize and hold elections in the country, according to Ms. Birtukan. Meanwhile she noted that under certain circumstances regions may hold elections separately, meanwhile they have to make the request to hold such elections to the Board.
Meanwhile after the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power about two years ago ending the dominance of TPLF within the ruling coalition, TPLF has separated itself from the EPRDF. The remaining three member political parties, namely ODP, ADP and Southern party have decided to rebrand the EPRDF into Prosperity party bringing aboard the ruling parties in the peripherals of Ethiopia – Somali, Afar, Gambella, Benishabgul Gumz and Harari regions of Ethiopia.
In a related development, the Ethiopian Parliament today passed a bill that aims to find constitutional interpretation about the fate of the upcoming general election as the mandate of the current ruling party expires during the first week of next October.
It is recalled that last week the government has brought forward four different options (scenarios) on the way forward and discussed with oppression political party leaders and representatives of some civil society organizations. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia was making preparations to hold general election at the end of August this year. Meanwhile the Board was forced to suspend following the outbreak of the global pandemic coronavirus.
Many countries across the world, which are supposed to hold their general elections this year, are forced to suspend because of the global pandemic.