Seven Opposition Parties Propose One Year Extension with Limited Government Power

By Staff Reporter

Ethiopian-ElectionsMay 13, 2020 ( -- Seven opposition political parties including the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) have proposed the incumbent government of Ethiopia continue in power for the next one year and the next general elections shall be held in May 2021.

In a statement issued at the end of their meeting, the parties, however, said the government needs to be restricted to governmental activities and support the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) until an elected party takes over the roles of the government.

The parties said the government in no way can enact, amend, or terminate laws or introduce new administrative structures during the extended term in office.

They also demanded the government to allow opposition political parties to have direct involvement on matters of international relations, national security, and democratic building activities of the country.

The parties further called for the establishment of an independent commission which will be commissioned to promote national consensus and follow up if the government will not monopolize and abuse power during the extended period.

The political parties referred to as coalition for democratic federalism comprises of OLF, ONLF, Oromo Federal Congress (OFC) Agew National Assembly (ANA) Mocha Democratic Party (MDP), and Arena Tigray Democratic Party (ATSDP).

Recently, the Ethiopian parliament approved a bill allowing the governing Prosperity Party to seek constitutional interpretation from the House of Federation to postpone the general elections which were set for August 29 to extend its term in office.

The parliament decision came after the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) indicated that it suspended pre-election activities due to global coronavirus outbreak.

Analysts fear the postponement of the elections at this moment could exacerbate the tense political situation in Ethiopia, which has experienced ethnic conflicts because of political rivalries between oppositions and the ruling government.

Several opposition parties, including the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), said coronavirus is just the intervening factor. The ruling party wanted it to postpone elections even before the pandemic.

Ethiopia’s constitution demands an election should be held every five years. “A failure to do so is considered an unconstitutional act. The parliament cannot extend its own terms” the political parties argued.

“No solution the government can draw from interpreting the constitution which clearly states that a life time of a government is limited to five years. There is nothing to interpret unless the government wants to postpone the election unconstitutionally” they said

There has to be sufficient consultations between the ruling party and the opposition and decisions have to be made based on consensus,” Jewar Mohammed, one of the prominent activist and opposition figure was quoted as saying.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the ruling Prosperity Party will remain to be a legitimate government until the next elections are held right after the elimination of COVID-19 from the country.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ethiopia has risen to 261 after 11 people tested positive over the past 24 hours.

The new cases were identified out of the 2,424 samples tested during the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

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