Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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PoliticsNegotiations over anti-terror law put on hold

Negotiations over anti-terror law put on hold

Some 15 national opposition political parties, negotiating with the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) on widening the political space in the country and amending the legal procedures that govern election and political activities, have put their negotiation over the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation No. 652/2009 on hold demanding a clear-cut position from the ruling party.

In response, ruling party representative Shiferaw Shigute proposed continuing with the remaining agenda items, saying, “since many of the ideas proposed by opposition parties require legal interpretation, let’s for now work on other items on the agenda.”

However, opposition parties, especially the 11 that have forged unity for the purpose of this negotiation, stated that since many of their proposals were rejected by the ruling party, it is very difficult to continue with the remaining agenda items without first thrashing out differences over the anti terrorism proclamation.  

In this regard, the parties proposed to postpone ongoing negotiations on the anti-terror proclamation until the issue of legal interpretation is resolved.

Following this, leaders of the negotiating parties announced that the negotiations would resume when the EPRDF made its position on the anti-terror law known to the forum.

In a related development, the Ethiopian Ra’ey Party has announced its withdrawal from the ongoing political parties’ negotiation forum. The party announced its decision on Wednesday when the controversial anti-terror proclamation was on the agenda.

Party secretary Melaku Messele argued that the anti-terror proclamation violated basic human and democratic rights of citizens and contravened constitutional provisions and, therefore, the party demanded the proclamation be discarded altogether.

So far, the ruling party and opposition parties have agreed to amend the existing Revised Political Parties’ Registration Proclamation No. 573/2008 and the Amended Electoral Law of Ethiopia Proclamation No. 532/2007. The negotiating parties have also agreed to change the electoral arrangement of the country to a mixed electoral system from the current winner-take-all system.

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