Analysis: Faced with multi-level crises, Ethiopia forms new government in Tigray’s absence, electoral process incomplete

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Ashenafi Meaza was sworn in to Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister. Photo: HoPR.

By Bileh Jelan @BilehJelan & Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne

Addis Ababa, October 04/2021 – In accordance with the established standard, President Sahle-Work Zewde this morning opened the 6th joint parliamentary session of the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) and the House of Federation (HoF) with the aim of marking the formation of ‘a new government. is about to appoint a new president and vice-president.

The joint session then moved on to appointing and appointing members of the new government, including the prime minister and the presidents of both chambers. As a result, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was elected by the Joint Parliament to become the next Prime Minister, the first for the Prime Minister who took office on January 02, 2018 after being appointed by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front ( EPRDF), the party he has since dismantled to form his own Prosperity Party (PP).

During the current joint session, HoPR members re-elected Tagesse Chafo as Speaker of the House. Tagesse was first elected president in October 2018, replacing Muferiat Kamil when she became Minister of Peace. The HoPR also elected Lomi Bedo as vice-president. Lomi replaces Shitaye Minale who has served parliament as vice president since 2015. Prior to her election as vice president today, Lomi served as president of Oromia State Council (Cafee Oromia).

Likewise, HoF members elected the former president of Amhara State, Agegnehu Teshager, president of the upper house. Agegnehu replaced outgoing speaker Adem Farah.

New president of the House of Federation, Agegnehu Teshager succeeds former spekaer Adam Farah. Photo: HOF

At the top this year

It was on October 5, 2020 that the president announced the new start of the incumbent’s mandate to govern, after its extension was recommended by the Constitutional Inquiry Council and approved by the Chamber of the Federation. At the time when the regional state of Tigray withdrew all its representatives from the House of Federations (HoF) and the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) to protest against the start of a new term by the outgoing president, citing the end of five-year term. government limit.

Shortly thereafter, a disagreement between the federal government and the administration of Tigray led by the terrorist group now known as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) erupted into all-out war on November 4, 2020. Defense Forces Forces Ethiopian National Army (ENDF) allied with Eritrean Defense Forces and Regional Special Forces, primarily Amhara Regional State Special Forces, captured the capital of the Tigray region, Mekelle, and declared victory on November 28 2020 after three weeks of conflict.

As a result, forces loyal to the TPLF withdrew into the mountainous areas of the region and vowed to drive out Federal and Allied forces. Forces loyal and allied to the TPLF recaptured Mekelle on June 28, 2021, seven months after the capture of Mekelle by Federal and Allied forces.

The still ongoing war has spread to the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar. The war has also seen the involvement of neighboring Eritrea where its army is accused of committing “crimes against humanity”.

In the absence of Tigray and incomplete electoral process

For the first time since the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) in 1995, Ethiopia forms a new government in the absence of one of the ten members of its federation, the State of Tigray, and against the background of an incomplete electoral process. .

Ethiopia decided to hold its twice postponed elections in June 2021. The sixth national elections were originally scheduled for May 2020. The date was later changed to August 2020 before being postponed indefinitely by the National Electoral Council of Ethiopia. Ethiopia (NEBE) due to the outbreak. of Covid-19 in the country in March 2020.

The electoral process has been marred by scandals, ranging from irregularities in the processes of registering candidates and voters to the cancellation of polling stations to the dispute between the electoral council and the Harari region. In the Somali region, 7 constituencies were marred by registration irregularities on the electoral rolls. In Addis Ababa, opposition parties complained about irregularities in the process, and in Oromia, residents complained of a forced registration. Days before the elections, the NEBE canceled and postponed voting in a number of constituencies in six of the regional states.

Nonetheless, the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) won a landslide victory for the ruling party, where elections in the regions of Somalis, South Harari nations, nationalities and peoples only took place. three days ago, September 30, 2021. Commenting on the elections that took place amid growing calls for a cessation of hostilities and inclusive dialogue, the United States said the electoral process in Ethiopia was not free or fair for all Ethiopians and called for inclusive political participation to move the country forward

The June 21 elections in Ethiopia took place against a backdrop of serious instability, including growing inter-ethnic and inter-community conflicts, and an electoral process that was neither free nor fair for all Ethiopians, ”the department said. State in a statement, adding, “The boycott of the elections by the opposition parties, the detention of loud political leaders and the continued violence in several parts of the country underscore the need for an inclusive effort to build a national consensus on the governance of Ethiopia that preserves the sovereignty and unity of the state and strengthens the constitutional order.

The installation of the new government comes despite the absence of the largest opposition parties in the regions of Oromia and Somalia, the two largest regions of Ethiopia and respectively home to the largest nation and the third largest nation. from the country. The entire Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the National Front for the Liberation of Ogaden (ONLF) withdrew from the elections.

It also comes just four days after the 2nd round of elections were held in Somalia, Harari and several constituencies in other regions as well as before the conclusion of the South West Regional State Referendum. It should be noted that the regional state of Tigray is not represented in either the HoPR or the HoF, as the regional elections that took place in September 2020 were annulled and deemed illegal by the federal parliament.

The state of Ethiopian diplomacy

The Ethiopian state under the new administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will face growing diplomatic isolation. Perhaps a glaring sign of this, today’s formation of the new government and the inauguration of Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister for the next five years is taking place with just * three African heads of state. : President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo of Somalia and President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti.

The country’s diplomacy suffered a severe blow in the wake of the Tigray war, as relations with humanitarian partners and longtime allies deteriorated. The US administration and the Ethiopian government have exchanged accusations over the provision and obstruction of aid. In addition, the United States has repeatedly called for an end to hostilities, allowing unhindered humanitarian access and the initiation of a national dialogue.

In addition, President Joe Biden issued an executive decree, authorizing sanctions against those found responsible for the continuation of the conflict as well as the prolongation of the humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia. Inciting answer by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed criticizing this decision.

The most recent blow to Ethiopia’s international image came after the federal government declared 7 senior United Nations (UN) personnel “persona non grata” and ordered them to leave. the country within 72 hours. The move drew condemnation from the UN, UK, EU and Germany, it also prompted the US administration to threaten new sanctions using the executive order issued by President Joe Biden.

These developments have been accompanied by a decision to downgrade or close diplomatic outposts abroad, most recently the closure of the embassy in Cairo.

Despite all the challenges ahead, with an electoral mandate now at his disposal, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed takes office with the ball in his court. The impending US sanctions, including the threat to remove Ethiopia from the list of countries enjoying AGOA privileges, and the diplomatic isolation from the rest of Ethiopia’s traditional Western allies are all conditioned by the capacity and willingness of the new government to enter into a negotiated ceasefire with Tigrayan forces to end the month-long war that has so far torn the country apart. It remains to be seen whether Prime Minister Abiy prioritizes peace over his repeated slogan of “prosperity”. LIKE

* Editor’s note: Five other African heads of state and government arrived to attend the event within hours of the writing and publication of this article. Please see the latest update below.



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