Upcoming Ethiopian Elections Can Be Postponed with Public Consent - PM Abiy Ahmed
By Staff Reporter
August 1, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- The upcoming Ethiopian national elections can be postponed upon the consent of all political parties and the general public, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said
Briefing journalists on Thursday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said as it was the case before, the ruling EPRDF (Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front) will not decide whether the national elections should be held or not as per the schedule. "If the government decides by itself in line with the constitution and without the participation of others, the democratic situation would go wrong, he stated
Abiy said all political parties should come together and discuss the issue, and that will make election process and the results much better.
"Had we believed in the postponement of the elections, we would have not allocated big sums of money for the electoral board. But it is possible to form a constitutionaly mandated government if the election is delayed," he added.
According the Prime minister the general public has all right to differ the elections. "If the the public decides the election should be held on time, there is no way that the election won't be conducted."
Whereas some are concerned with the deteriorating security situation in parts of the country, so far, many parties and individuals have warned against postponing the elections. In particular, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF), one of four EPRDF parties, has stressed that the elections must be held on time. Some are resigned to the possibility that the government will postpone the elections, just as it did this week to municipality elections in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.
Speaking about forming a single party, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said there is no difference among the four political parties which formed the ruling party, EPRDF, on changing the existing coalition into single party, but the difference lies on when the merger should be done. He said all preparations are underway by the four member parties and others on the formation of a single party.
"Forming a single party is not only in the interests of some political parties within the EPRDF and individuals, but it is also in the interests of all parties in the country. Ideas of all parties should be incorporated and we will hold series of discussions to form a united party that would take Ethiopia to peace, democracy and prosperity.
There is a growing support for unified, Ethiopia-wide parties in Ethiopia today. Many Ethiopians blame ethnic-based parties and ethnic-based politics instituted by the EPRDF nearly three decades ago as the root cause of the problems Ethiopia is facing today. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said many times before that he wants to change all that. However, not all the sister parties within the EPRDF are firmly behind the plan, according to some reports.
Responding to questions related to the deteriorating human right situations in the country, Abiy said there is nothing new and no prisoner was held in dark rooms, no removing of fingernails and beatings, as was the case before. However, critics do not accept that assessment. They claim the prisons are filling up anew, just as they were before, and no one will know how these detainees are going to be treated until years later. They claim those being detained are groups that are perceived threats to the administration, such as NAMA (National Movement of Amhara) and the Baladera Council, which stands for the protection of autonomous rights for Addis Ababa against perceived encroachment from some Oromo political groups.
Abiy Ahmed, however, did not hide the dwindling diaspora trust fund, which many speculate was due to the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, where journalists are being jailed and many people from Bahir Dar to Addis Ababa are rounded up and put in custody without sufficient evidence.
Abiy however said there has not been any retreat from the government side on widening the democratic space and modernizing human right institutions.
Talking about the infighting among member parties within the EPRDF, the premier said the statements made by the TPLF and ADP should have been made considering the advantages to the people of Tigray, Amhara and the general Ethiopian public.
They should have solved their diffences before they made it public through their statements. They need each other for their sucesses and should find ways to solve their problems, he added.
"ADP works with TPLF for its sucess and vise versa. They need each other to meet their respective ends. The two parties have been working together and fighting for the same goals to bring peace development and democracy in Ethiopia. They should have solved their differences in another way, rather than through issuing statements," Abiy added.
With regard to law enforcement situation, Abiy said each party is not willing to hand over its alleged member to the central government. If we charge ahead to enforce law and order, all people will be detained except those tree seedlings planted very recently, Abiy Ahmed added.