The House of Federation (HoF) has elected Aden Farah as its new speaker on Wednesday, replacing Keria Ibrahim, who resigned from the post on Monday, after serving for about two years.
On the same session, the House also elected Etsegent Mengistu as Deputy Speaker of the Federation, replacing Mohammed Reshid, who had also resigned by stating he and the speaker are form the same ethnic group and a chance should be given to other ethnic groups.
It is to be remembered that the former speaker had resigned in a televised statement aired on Tigray TV, stating “I cannot oversee a process as speaker of the Federation, a decision that endangers the constitution.”
Interpreting the constitution is the business of the House of Federation. Under the guise of the Constitutional Inquiry Commission, she said, the government is trying to impose a decision that will lead to an authoritarian government, which she says is “unacceptable to her conscience.”
Following her resignation, the House elected a new speaker and also voted to extend the term of all federal and regional organs of the government. To this effect, the decision effectively extends Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s time in Office until the next election.
With the threat COVID-19 pauses, the House of People’s Representative (HPR) approved the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia’s (NEBE) decision that Ethiopia’s sixth general election cannot take place in August, as scheduled.
Therefore, the parliament discussed four possible options intending to find a legal solution to what many call is a constitutional crisis. One of them was to seek a constitutional interpretation to constitutionally extend the election and a Constitutional Inquiry Commission (CCI) was tasked to see, if there is a constitutional ground and presented its report to the House, where it voted for the extension of the government’s term.
However, the decision to extend the office term of the incumbent, however, was rejected by the opposition political parties in the country. In this regard, parties such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) issued statements that oppose the term extension of the incumbent.
To this effect, OLF and OFC said the decision was illegal and illegitimate. Furthermore, the two parties stated that the decision “not only violates the constitution but also endangers the peace and stability of the country.”
Similarly, ONLF expressed its grave concern regarding the process which has resulted in the decision to postpone the 2020 elections and extend the mandate of the government and its institutions, beyond what the constitution allows, according to the statement.
“We believe that any extension of the current governments mandate should have been done through an inclusive and consultative process resulting in a political consensus rather than a unilateral decision by the one-party dominated two-tier parliament,” the statement further reads.