Tigray Region Conducts Elections Defying Federal Government

By Staff Reporter

Tigray-Region-electionSeptember 9, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopia's Tigray region on Wednesday conducted regional elections in defiance of resolutions by the House of Federation who called the vote “unconstitutional.”

Muluwork Kidanemariam, a regional election commissioner, told local media the turnout was 98 percent -- out of more than 2.6 million registered voters.

Voters queued up before dawn at polling stations and there were long lines at voting centers with strict safety measures against coronavirus infections, Ezega.com has learned.

"Now we have to count the whole night so we can have the preliminary results by tomorrow," Muluwork was quoted as saying.

Ethiopia was supposed to hold national elections in August, but the House of People Representative postponed the election due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Authorities of the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) rejected the extension of the general elections and that of the mandate of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed whose term is supposed to expire next October.

Referring to the country’s constitution, Tigrayan authorities claim the federal government will not be legitimate after next October.

The separate election in the Tigray region annoyed officials in Addis Ababa and opposition forces had been calling for military intervention to stop the election.

Speaking to opposition leaders, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had said his government would not respond by force against the Tigray elections.

In an interview with the state-run EBC, a day before Tigray’s elections, Abiy likened election in Tigray as the construction of unlicensed buildings by squatters on land that they do not own.

"Those who construct unlicensed buildings are illegal dwellers as they don't have land deeds, and they don't sleep well," he told the state broadcaster.

He said the relations with the Tigray region will be managed in a way that will not compromise the safety and security of the Tigray people.

“The government examines each and every action from perspectives of the interests of the people of Tigray. We thoroughly weigh the pros and cons of the people while mulling over actions to be taken.” the premier said.

“The people of Tigray are our people. We dare not to take measures that will hurt them and put us at regression.” Abiy said.

He rejected the election in the Tigray Region as “unconstitutional” and those who are leading the poll are defying the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia.

“The people of Tigray aspire for democracy and prosperity. It is essential to identify the Tigray people from the political forces operating there. It is inappropriate to hurt the people of Tigray while trying to take any action against illegal forces,” PM Abiy added.

The premier did not mention what actions the federal government would take but said “the actions would ensure the benefits and interest of the Tigray people.”

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