Ethiopia postpones August elections due to coronavirus
The August polls had been seen as a key test of the reformist agenda of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in what was once one of the continent’s most repressive nations.
“Due to the pandemic we were forced to suspend our activities,” said the Amharic-language statement.
The board will announce a new timeline once the pandemic had subsided, the statement said.
Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most populous nation. When Abiy took power in 2018, he promised to liberalise the state-run economy and introduced reforms that saw thousands of political prisoners released.
He had promised to hold free and fair elections in August, when his party would have faced a stiff challenge from many ethnically-based parties newly emboldened by his reforms.
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Election postponed? Understandable.
The problem is…
One thing the constitution is very clear about is General Elections. It must take place every five years. General election is not like census. Results of latest census can be used for all practical purposes until such time when new one will be available. Expired parliament, however, can’t continue to serve, it has to be dissolved. So “postponing” election can’t be an option without considering other important issues.
Remember, no one can cancel constitutionally mandated course of action without amending the constitution itself. It is not like vague provisions such as human rights or environmental rights, it is an article that mandates time bounded course of action.
So what the solution?
1) establish federal government of national unity, same in all states, with all important parties involved.
2) Amend articles on the constitution with regards to election. Decision should be unanimous in the two federal houses and among states, don’t try to sideline states if they revolt (don’t use the two third majority rule). And don’t tamper with any other articles on the constitution.
3) Dissolve parliament and institute transitional council of representatives to serve for two years.
If agreed, I think the next election should not be held before may 2022, two years from now. It offers enough transitional time to strengthen institutions, opposition parties and civil societies.
And lunatic Abiy will have already served five years by then and will have happily left his office probably, hopefully.
Fail to follow constitutional routes and consensus, there will be no more Ethiopia. And I will say GOOD RIDDANCE. Let the empire crumble.