The senators ethiopians have approved Wednesday, June 10 the project of maintaining the Prime minister, Abiy Ahmed in power beyond his term of office, in October, following the postponement of elections scheduled in August due to the coronavirus. This decision of the upper house of Parliament did not fail to arouse the anger of the opposition leaders, who have accused the Prime minister of using the epidemic to remain in that position. The elected officials have not specified a date by which the elections should take place.

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elections postponed because of Covid-19

“The house of the federation (equivalent of the Senate) has approved the decision to extend the term of all the assemblies until the health institutions worldwide consider the risk of the coronavirus as non-existent,” reported the news agency ethiopian. Their vote has endorsed a recommendation of the Council ethiopian constitutional issues which called for these ” elections will be held 9 to 12 months after the coronavirus was no longer considered as a public health issue “.

Appointed Prime minister in 2018 and winner of the Nobel peace prize in 2019, Abiy Ahmed wants to see reinforced by the ballot box to carry out new political and economic reforms. But, in march, the electoral commission of ethiopia had announced that the outbreak of coronavirus made impossible the organization of the election in time. Therefore, the elections cannot be held before the end of the mandate of deputies, which expires in early October, leading to a tricky situation for which the Constitution offers no clear path to follow.

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The opposition wants to be heard

The Council ethiopian constitutional questions has led to the last month of the public hearings which, according to critics, do not have sufficiently given voice to the opposition. Some of its leaders have called for the formation until the elections for a transitional government, but Abiy Ahmed has rejected this option during a session of questions and answers with the parliamentarians.

Dawud Ibsa, chairman of oromo liberation Front (opposition), told AFP that the vote of the upper house had “no constitutional basis” and that his party would think to give effect to this announcement.

If the main opposition parties reject the recommendations of the Council ethiopian constitutional issues, “protests, or boycotts could become a reality, reducing the chances of a ballot and successful performance in 2021,” said William Davison, of the International Crisis Group. “This would mean more political instability and undermine the democratic transition “, he said.

Ethiopia has announced its first case of Covid-19 mid-march and currently there are 2 506 cases and 35 deaths. However, more than half of these cases have been registered during the last 10 days, and the ministry of Health said last week that the case ” grew quickly because of a transmission within communities “.

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