Ethiopia: Tigray State Council Approves Appointment of Regional Electoral Commission Officials

In an emergency meeting it held today, the Council of Tigray Regional State has approved the appointments of Tigray regional state Election Commission officials, Dimtsi Weyane Tigrigna reported.

Accordingly, the Council has approved the appointment of Muluwork Kidanemariam (Mr.) as Commissioner of the regional State Election Commission, whereas Tsigereda Dibekulu (Ms.) is appointed as deputy Commissioner.

In addition, the Council has also approved the appointment of Mohammed Seid Hagos, Tsega Berhan (PhD), and Meresa Tsehaye as executives members Tigray state's Election Commission.

#Ethiopia: News Alert: The Council of Tigray Regional State passed decision to go ahead with regional election as planned, Getachew Reda, Exec. member of #TPLF, the party governing the region, confirmed to AS.

The Council has also extended regional #COVID19 SoE by 2 1/2 months. pic.twitter.com/mb250biuQV

- Addis Standard (@addisstandard) June 12, 2020

Today's appointment by the Council came in the backdrop of its June 12 decision to go ahead and conduct the election unilaterally at regional level. Mulugeta Tareke, Public Relations & Conference Service head of Tigray State Council, said in June that the regional state will prepare to hold the regional election sometime before Sep.11, (before the end of this Ethiopian year.) Others say it will held before October 5.

Tigray region has subsequently requested the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to facilitate the regional election, a request NEBE not only dismissed but also said was unconstitutional.

In a statement NEBE issued on June 24, it rejected the regional state's request on the grounds that until after the COVID-19 pandemic was re-evaluated and that circumstances to hold elections were assured, the Board will not facilitate elections in any part of the country. NEBE also said that based on its own constitutional mandate to facilitate and implement elections throughout the country, Tigray regional state council has no legal bases to decide to hold regional election as well as to demand the Board to implement its decision.

It is to be recalled that Ethiopia has postponed in the 6th general elections, scheduled to take place in August this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, a decision Tigray regional state disagreed with.

Last week Tigray regional state has facilitated public recommendation mechanisms in which the people of Tigray were asked to forward names of candidates for the region's election commission. Accordingly the names of some 776 people were forwarded, of whom 177 individuals were shortlisted at the first round. According to Dimtsi Weyane Tigrigna, in a joint meeting held between TPLF, the region's government party, and three other opposition parties which are vying to participate in the regional election, the name of 10 people were further shortlisted out of the 177 shortlisted in the first and was submitted to the Council for approval.

The three opposition parties which are preparing to participate in the election are: Salsay Woyane, Baytona, and Tigray National Council. However, two opposition parties: the older one, Arena Tigray, and another, Tigray Democratic Party, have already announced that they will not participate in the regional election. AS

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