The National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) and Balderas are looking for possible ways to form an alliance for the upcoming election, despite the decision of the National Electoral Board not to receive such requests now.
While the two parties said they are identifying ways to work together before the election, the Board explained its firm position saying such a request should have been made two months before the electoral board announced its election timetable.
“The due date to establish a coalition/merger…etc.is over, according to 1162/2011 proclamation,” said Birtukan Mideksa, while responding to questions raised by the public for the board.
NEBE announced its election calendar on December 25, 2020, planning to conduct the election on June 5, 2020. Based on the Electoral, Political Parties Registration and Election’s Code of Conduct Proclamation, political parties interested to form a merger, coalition or front are required to submit their request in writing to the Board two months prior to the issuance of timetable for local or general elections.
“It [merger, coalition] should happen two months earlier than the electoral calendar,” Birtukan said.
The parties, however, blame the board for failing to inform political parties the final day for merger prior to announcing the timetable for the election.
“It was at the end of December 2020 that the Board gave recognition to political parties and we received a letter in early January 2020. Yet it still requires us to submit request for merger, coalition or front two months prior to its announcement of the election calendar,” said Getaneh Balcha, Head of Political Affairs at Balderas.
“Such requests should be seen as a special case since the Board failed to comply with the law due to the Coronavirus pandemic and postponement of the election,” he added.
Officials of NAMA have also expressed similar concerns over the decision of the Board.
“During this pandemic time, while the schedule of the National Electoral Board is even misplaced, preventing parties from forming a coalition is inappropriate and unwelcoming,” remarked Tahir Mohammed, Head of Public Relations at NAMA.
“The board should have informed us and notified us of the deadline before banning the move. If we are far behind the legal schedule to form a coalition, there are other options on the table without breaking the election law,” Tahir added.
Initially established as a Civic Society by Eskinder Nega two years ago, with the aim of defending the economic rights of residents of Addis Ababa, Balderas later transformed itself into a political party and later received a temporary recognition from the NEBE on January 2020.
Founded almost two and half years ago, NAMA is a national party established to ‘struggle and strive for the realization of holistic, strategic and sustainable benefits, rights and interests of the Amhara ethnic group of Ethiopian origins.’