Ethiopia: Parliament Convenes Today for an Emergency Meeting, to Hear Report On Covid-19 National Status

Members of the House People's Representatives (HoPR) are convening today for the 5th year, third emergency meeting to be held at the conference center located in the premises of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office.

According to a statement from HoPR, its members will first discuss and pass decision on the minutes of the 5th year 2nd emergency meeting, which took place on April 10 and has, among other items, approved the COVID-19 State of Emergency which was declared by the Council of Ministers (CoM) on April 08. It also approved the establishment of an Inquiry Board to oversee the implementation of the COVID-19 SoE.

Both the COVID-19 SoE and the Inquiry Board's five months timetable were finished last August and it's expected that the parliament in its emergency meeting today will officially declare the end of both.

The second item for the HoPR is to receive a report on the national COVID-19 response from representatives of the Ministry of Health and approve the next course of action.

It is to be recalled that in its 5th year, second regular session, Ethiopia's upper House, the House of Federation (HoF) approved a recommendation by the Council of Constitutional Inquiry (CCI) submitted to the Constitutional Interpretation and Identity sub-committee on May 29. The recommendation by the CCI extended the term limits of both the federal and regional state legislative until Ethiopia's deferred elections were held between nine and 12 months time following announcements by the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) as well as members of the science community that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a threat to public health, and after this announcement was approved and/or endorsed by the HoPR.

Preparations for the national elections are ongoing. Great visit to the @NEBEthiopia warehouse for electoral material hosted by @UNDPEthiopia & NEBE Deputy Chairperson Ato Woubshet. Great to see preparations for a free & fair election are progressing despite COVID-19 🗣 pic.twitter.com/iNXcdzT34R

- Denmark in Addis (@Denmark_Addis) September 17, 2020

Today's emergency meeting by the HoPR will receive the COVID-19 national response from the MoH. It also comes a day after the western backers of Ethiopia's election visited the warehouse where the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has stored electoral materials. "Great to see preparations for a free & fair election are progressing despite COVID-19," tweeted Embassy of Denmark in Addis Abeba. It was shortly followed by another tweet from embassy of Sweden: "Sweden is proud to co-finance the support to the electoral preparations together with e.g our Nordic colleagues from [Denmark Addis]. The Embassy looks forward to follow the example and visit the warehouse soon."

"Successful general elections can unlock a brighter future for Ethiopia," tweeted Turhan Saleh, resident representative of UNDP Ethiopia office, which is coordinating a financial support from western donors to the tune of US$40 million to help organize Ethiopia's general elections, which was scheduled to take place on August 29. AS

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