Ethiopian Upper House Declares Tigray Election as “Null and Void”

By Staff Reporter

House-Federaion-EthiopiaSeptember 7, 2020 ( -- The Ethiopian House of Federation on Saturday declared the planned election in the Tigray regional state and its subsequent results as “null and void.

The upper house’s decision came after it deliberated on the resolution proposed to it by the Constitutional Interpretations and Identity Affairs Standing committee of the house.

In its extraordinary meeting, the house said the decisions passed by the regional government to hold separate polls and the establishment of an election commission referring to article 351/2012 of the constitution violates the country’s constitution.   

Accordingly, the house decided that based on Article 9(1) of the constitution, the planned elections in the Tigray region will be considered as if they are not conducted, unjustified and invalid.

The Tigray regional government on Friday said any decision the House of Federation (HoF) would pass in connection to Tigray region’s election is tantamount to declaring war.

It is not clear if HoF’s resolution was tantamount to declaring war against the regional government but reportedly far below the expectations of some opposition groups including the Identity and Geographic Restoration of Raya and Wolkait-Tegede committees and Raya Rayuma political party.

The opposition forces claimed that nonethnic Tigrayans faced human rights violations for ignoring the elections and have been calling for military interventions by the federal government.

It is not also clear if HoF’s decision will be the basis for the next legal action by the federal government.

It is to be recalled that the house of federation requested constitutional interpretation on the 6th national elections based on the request the national electoral board of Ethiopia applied to the house of people’s representatives.

The governing party of Tigray has opposed the indefinite postponement of the country's general election, once planned for August, and the extension of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s mandate beyond term limits. The region has organized its own election for Sept. 9. The federal government has said the postponement related to the COVID-19 pandemic and should be respected.

Members of the upper house of parliament from the Tigray region boycotted its meeting Saturday. The September 9 vote will elect members of the regional parliament, which in turn will elect the region's cabinet and administrators.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last July announced that his government will not use force to stop the election, but there are fears any measure by the federal government against the Tigray region could lead to military confrontations.

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