Ethiopia is entering constitutional limbo
Postponed elections may leave it without a legal government
Even in normal times Ethiopia’s plans to hold national elections in August would have been fraught with uncertainty. Would they be free and fair? Would they help restore peace to a country riven by ethnic violence? Now, with the polls postponed indefinitely by covid-19, Ethiopia is approaching a constitutional crisis.
By law Ethiopia’s parliament will reach the end of its constitutional five-year term on September 30th. That could leave the country without a legitimate parliament or government. Abiy Ahmed, a young reformer who took office in 2018 promising democracy after massive protests, says that because of the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic his government will stay in charge until elections can be held safely.