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TPLF Cannot Hold Regional Elections on Its Own: NEBE Chair

By Staff Reporter

Birtukan-MideksaMay 6, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The plan by the governing party of Tigray regional state of Ethiopia to hold elections in the region, separate from the rest of the country, is unconstitutional, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has said.

NEBE’s remark comes after the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) announced a decision to hold an election in the state next August disregarding the decision passed by the federal parliament to postpone the general election due to coronavirus pandemic.

NEBE chairwoman Birtukan Midekissa on state TV said neither the TPLF nor the regional administration informed the board about their intentions to hold elections in the state and any activity of this type will not be legally acceptable.

Article 102 of the Ethiopian constitution states that “There shall be established a National Election Board independent of any influence, to conduct in an impartial manner free and fair election in federal and state constituencies,”

“The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia is constitutionally mandated to hold impartial, free, fair and acceptable national, regional and local elections. Hence the governing party of the Tigray region, or the region itself or any regional administrations and the federal government are not allowed to pass a decision on matters of election time table, execution, preparations and so on,” Birtukan said.

According to the chairwoman, the electoral board has been successfully organizing the federal and regional council elections before its activities were hampered by various restrictions including state of emergency which were effected to stem spread the deadly coronavirus in the country. “The board will resume its activities immediately right after elimination of COVID-19,” she said.

The electoral board can organize elections at the regional level based on Article 1162 of the Ethiopian election law due to specific cases but the Tigray regional government did not request NEBE if the election can be held in the region, the chairwoman added.

TPLF is not legally entitled to hold the election by itself and the legitimacy, fairness, and independence of the planned elections in Tigray state will be questionable if NEBE is not organizing the election, some political experts have said.

It is not clear if TPLF has decided elections constituencies, hold political parties and voters’ registration; conduct elections campaigns. According to some political experts, the TPLF has neither the capacity nor has the necessary democratic institutions to hold the election.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia has reported one death from coronavirus (COVID-19) until Tuesday afternoon.

A 75-year old woman has died from the virus, bringing the total number of deaths to 4.

According to the Ministry of Health, about 16 people have also recovered from the virus, taking the total number of recoveries to 91.

The number of COVID19 cases in Ethiopia has now reached 145 after five more people tested positive out of the 1, 047 samples taken during the past 24 hours.

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