Ethiopia parliament approves new electoral bill ahead of 2020 polls

Ethiopia parliament approves new electoral bill ahead of 2020 polls

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

(africanews)–The Ethiopian parliament, the House of People’s Representatives, HoPR; today approved a new electoral bill ahead of much anticipated national polls slated for next year.

Lawmakers convened in an extraordinary session to debate and pass the law which had been under construction since Abiy came into power in April 2018.

The revised law of political parties registration and electoral ethics has been adopted unanimously by Ethiopia’s parliament, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The privately-owned Addis Standard portal added that a proposed clause meant to boost the involvement of women was dismissed by the lawmaker. The said clause sought to give priority to women who received equal votes with men during the polls.


Ethiopian parliament approves electoral, political parties bill – state broadcaster

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s parliament has approved an electoral and political parties draft bill, the state broadcaster reported on Saturday, paving the way for national elections next year, the first to be held under reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a news conference at his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

On August 9 Ethiopia’s ruling coalition said it will hold a national election in 2020, defying worries over security and displaced people within the country that had led some to speculate the election might be postponed.

“The parliament unanimously approved the revised bill,” the Ethiopian Broadcast Corporation (EBC) reported.

National parties will require at least 10,000 founding members, while regional parties need 4,000, EBC said.

Abiy has rolled out a series of political reforms since coming to power last year, including unbanning many political parties, releasing political prisoners and journalists, and welcoming home exiled rebel groups.

But an attempted coup in June by a rogue militia in the northern Amhara region had raised doubts over the ruling party’s ability to ensure security, while an increase in ethnic violence across the country made some query whether the election would be held.

A national census has already been postponed twice, potentially undermining logistics for the polls including the drawing up of constituencies in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Tensions within the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which has ruled with an iron grip since 1991, have risen following the failed coup.

In a rare public feud earlier this month, two of its four ethnic parties traded barbs over who was responsible for the violence.

After decades of harsh rule, Abiy’s reforms have created new freedoms but old grievances and disputes have resurfaced, while local power-brokers seeking to build support by securing power and territory for their ethnic groups have been emboldened.

In June parliamentarians in both houses voted overwhelmingly to delay the census again by a year, due to an upsurge in ethnic conflicts that has forced 2.4 million Ethiopians out of their homes, according to United Nations figures.