Ethiopian Government Warns Against Planned Election in Tigray Region

By Staff Reporter

Awelu-Abdi-PP-EthiopiaMay 16, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The Ethiopian ruling party has warned that it will take all the necessary measures if the Tigray region conducts elections separately.

Awelu Abdi, Public Relations Head of the Prosperity Party told DW Amharic service that the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) cannot hold election alone and any attempt to do so will be met with proportional and legal measures.

“Holding a separate election is impossible. If TPLF persists and conducts elections as planned, the government will take all appropriate measures to safeguard the constitution and that of the safety of the people,” Awelu warned.

Debretsion Gebremichael, chairman of the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) in a briefing on Wednesday said the Tigray regional state will hold the election while all the necessary precautions to contain the spread of COVID-19 are in place.

“I don’t understand why the Prime Minister decided to oppose the Tigray region that wants to hold election based on the constitution. What is wrong with the TPLF that claims power should be held or transferred in line with the constitution,” Debretsion claimed.

Awelu said TPLF had been considering its self as a patron for the Ethiopian constitution but nowadays it goes against while the PP was trying to resolve problems linked to the elections within the framework of the constitution.

According to Awelu, about fifty-five countries worldwide have extended elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Ethiopia may require additional six-eight months to hold the elections,”

TPLF, however, said the federal government is using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to remain in power.   

“Unlike the federal government, we do not have any intention to stay in power disregarding the constitution. The federal government wants us to listen and implement what it wanted to. This does not work, rather it will exacerbate the problem,” Debertsion argued.

According to the TPLF chair, there must be a national dialogue if the desire was there from the federal government to postpone the elections but a unilateral decision is not acceptable.

“TPLF’s decision to hold an election is also the position of the region and unlike the governing party the, TPLF is not interested to stay in power using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse," the deputy president of the regional state has said.

The issue is a matter of respecting the decision of the public and that of the constitution. Failing to hold an election is against citizens’ right to elect and be elected. Hence the election must be conducted, he added.

It must be noted that the TPLF has been the sole power inside Tigray for more than three decades. No opposition person has ever been elected to any office, regional or national, inside Tigray in three decades. According to many observers, this time will not be different; the TPLF is expected to sweep all elected positions inside Tigray, given its iron grip on power in the region, making its rush to elections highly preposterous.

Meanwhile, a coalition of Ethiopian Federalist Forces announced support to the decision made by the government to postpone the upcoming national elections.

In its urgent meeting held on Thursday in Addis Ababa, the coalition stated its consent to the postponement of the election because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID 19 has changed circumstances in the world. The reality remains the same in Ethiopia,” the coalition said.

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