The Council of Tigray Regional State, in an emergency meeting held on Thursday, July 16, 2020, has approved the appointments of officials for Tigray Regional State Election Commission, as part of a move to push ahead with regional election that puts the region at loggerheads with the federal government, The Reporter has learnt
Nominated by Deputy President of the Region, Debretsion Gebremichale (PhD) the Council approved the appointment of five members to the Commission, which is expected to oversee the upcoming 6th election at the regional level. To this effect, the Council elected Muluwork Kidanemariam, and Tsigereda Dibekulu, as Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Regional State Election Commission, respectively.
In addition, the Council also approved the appointment of Mohammed Seid Hagos, Tsega Berhan (PhD), and Meresa Tsehaye (Asst. Prof) as members of the regional electoral Commission.
Prior to the appointment, the Tigray Regional State had accepted nomination of candidates from the public. Accordingly, the names of some 177 individuals were proposed, of which 10 individuals were shortlisted.
Following the recommendation, the leading party of the region, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) held a joint meeting with three opposition political parties active in the region and identified 10 individuals for shortlisting.
Among 10 individuals, the Council approved the appointment of five individuals to lead the Commission.
The appointment of the commissioners and members of the regional electoral commission by the Council is the result of a decision to hold elections unilaterally, at Tigray level, against the decision of the postponement of the 6th general election at a national level by the federal government and the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is to be recalled that, following the decision to postpone the general election, the regional administration has subsequently requested the NEBE to facilitate the regional elections. However, the Board rejected the requests made by the regional Council saying it was unconstitutional.
In a statement NEBE issued on June 24, it rejected the regional state’s request on the grounds that until after the COVID-19 pandemic was re-evaluated and that circumstances to hold elections were assured, the Board will not facilitate elections in any parts of the country.
NEBE also said that based on its own constitutional mandate to facilitate and implement elections throughout the country, the regional state Council has no legal bases to decide on whether to hold a regional election as well as demand the Board to implement its decision.
The three opposition parties, which are preparing to participate in the regional election, are Salsay Woyane, Baytona, and Tigray National Council. However, two opposition political parties, Arena Tigray, and another, Tigray Democratic Party, are not allowed to take part in the upcoming election.