Fortune News | Jun 15,2019
April 4 , 2020
Ethiopia is bracing for a potential constitutional crisis. Birtukan Mideksa, chief of the National Electoral Board, announced earlier in the week that her agency will find it challenging to stick to the already delayed schedule of conducting national elections in August 2020.
A few days after the first Coronavirus case was reported in Ethiopia on March 12, panic and fear ensued in the headquarters of the Board, located off Africa Avenue (Bole Road). A foreign national employed to work for the Board was thought to have contracted the virus, compelling Birtukan to instruct the Board staff to work from home. Luckily, the result turned out to be negative, offering an air of relief for many working there.
But the alarm was strong enough to force her to call a meeting with leaders of the incumbent party in the same week to discuss the prospect of the upcoming elections, gossip disclosed. Birtukan did the same with some of the opposition leaders, brandishing the idea that the polls could be postponed, according to gossip.
Ethiopia's Constitution has a handicap when it comes to circumstances governing the postponement of national elections. Its framers had overlooked a crucial element in outlining the rare occurrences in human-made or natural disaster, making it impossible to carry on with elections business. They seemed to have taken for granted that elections would be held every five years; no matter what.
Come October 2020, the month legislators of both houses at the federal level and regional councils across the country take their last salaries, they will have their terms expire. The executive bodies and the Prime Minister, as well as presidents these houses installed, will have no legitimacy to govern any longer. Neither have the legislators the mandate to extend their lease of life.
Birtukan`s decision not to remain faithful to her original schedule will no doubt be consequential to the already fragile political landscape. So have leaders of opposition parties from the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) led by Merrera Gudina (Prof.) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), led by Daoud Ebsa, opposed the unilateral decision she made, in the absence of an expressed consent from the broader political establishment. Not only do they want to see consensus reached before the decision, but they would also want to negotiate the political arrangement to be adopted between November and the time elections will be conducted.
Birtukan has written a letter to the incumbent Prosperity Party (PP), expressing the Board's precarious position to hold elections in such times of “social distancing,” gossip disclosed. Unlike what many in the opposition have come to believe, Prosperitians are not in favour of seeing the elections scheduled for August postponed, revealed gossip. They do not see eye to eye with Birtukan on this, says gossip. They instead believe the current situation with the level of threat in the spread of the Coronavirus does not warrant such a drastic decision in the same way they are reluctant to accept full lockdown of the country is the appropriate response, claims gossip.
A final agreement has yet to be reached whether or not to postpone the elections, gossip claims. Prosperitians have informed Birtukan and her team that an assessment has to be made on the extent of Coronavirus spread a month later, gossip disclosed. The outcomes of this assessment will determine what course of action the administration will be taking in relation to the elections, gossip revealed.
But neither the Board nor the incumbent party can make a decision when it comes to electioneering. After all, the final say on what to do with polling dates lies with the parliament. That is, indeed, if Abiy Ahmed, chairman of the incumbent party and prime minister of the country, uses a never-invoked provision in the Constitution to dissolve parliament and call elections in six months. That too requires consent from parliament.
PUBLISHED ON Apr 04,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1040]
Fortune News | Jun 15,2019
Commentaries | May 25,2019
Radar | Jan 19,2019
Fortune News | Apr 12,2020
My Opinion | Aug 16,2020
Fortune News | Aug 03,2019
Viewpoints | Jun 20,2020
Agenda | Oct 26,2019
Fortune News | Mar 13,2020
Fortune News | 35501 Views | Jul 18,2020
Fortune News | 15997 Views | Oct 12,2019
Fortune News | 14921 Views | Mar 19,2020
Agenda | 14517 Views | Mar 16,2019
February 13 , 2021 . By TADESSE TSEGAYE
In Arada, I stopped over by a hotel in front of Cinema Empire. I sat alone inside wit...
January 30 , 2021 . By FASIKA TADESSE
The Council of Ministers approved a regulation that will establish the Liability &...
January 16 , 2021
It was a sunny day on September 12, 1974. A machine gun mounted on top of a tank was...
January 3 , 2021 . By ABDUREZAK LESMAN
Women wearing netela, a white cotton garment with woven coloured borders, and men in...
On November 6, 2020, the Sudanese military carried out unprovoked aggression against...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country’s most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or tw...
February 27 , 2021
That Ethio telecom would remain in the hands of the state was never a sure deal. A ra...
February 20 , 2021
The late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was in parliament in 2010, taking questions on h...
February 13 , 2021
What most spooked buyers owning a billion dollars of Ethiopia’s Eurobonds was not a...
February 6 , 2021
The feeling of helplessness; the confusion to understand what is unfolding; and the d...
PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) at a Gala Dinner Called for the Awarding of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
May 6 , 2019
Sometimes two close friends get into a heated argument in front of us, and we are asked to step in and play the role of referee. This presen...
February 27 , 2021
Yinager Dessie (PhD) (right), governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), awarded Abennet Gebremeskel (left), CEO of MIDROC Ethiopia, a...
February 27 , 2021 . By MAYA MISIKIR and NEJAT AHMED
A little over six-dozen companies are vying to buy 2,400 freight trucks with a credit facility from the C...
February 27 , 2021 . By MAYA MISIKIR
A steering committee led by the Ethiopian Investment Commission is under formation to streamline employme...
February 27 , 2021 . By FASIKA TADESSE
The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) is set to launch the final and long-awaited request for prop...
Or see contact page