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Draft proclamation liberates electoral board

  • New proclamation officially ends the controversial CSO law
  • House endorsed members of administrative and boundary, reconciliation commissions

A new proclamation, which provides for the establishment of National Electoral Board Ethiopia (NEBE), tabled before the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) on Wednesday, is to end the excessive interference of the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) on the electoral body of the nation, The Reporter has learnt.

Commentators seem to have welcomed the draft proclamation already; some are even describing it as “the most liberal electoral legislation”.

Unlike the existing proclamation, the draft bill proposes a new nomination procedure for selecting potential board members, which will be undertaken by a special committee under the Prime Minister made up of prominent personalities, academicians, religious leaders as well as civil society organizations.

In the existing bill, the Prime Minister has the power to make the nomination and/or to remove any board member upon the endorsement of the House. Nevertheless, under the new proclamation as well the PM still holders the power to reject or accept the proposed nominees as the list is submitted by the Committee.  

According to the draft bill, the board members shall be appointed by the HPR in accordance with article 102 of the Constitution, upon nomination by the Prime Minister advised by the Committee.

“The Prime Minister shall establish an independent committee that will engage in the recruitment of nominees to membership of the [management] Board. The committee shall be composed of representatives from the Federal Supreme Court, Inter-religious Council of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, Ethiopian Confederation of Employees, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce, Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Representatives from civil the society and elders,” it reads.

In its busiest week, the House also ratified the long-awaited civil society bill that has seen the repealing of the long controversial bill: Charities and Societies Proclamation No. 664/2001.

The new law is expected to address the challenges of organizations engaged in advocacy, and the mobilization of the civil society.

Similarly, the Parliament approved members of national Reconciliation Commission as well as the Administrative Boundary and Identity Commission on Tuesday.

The Reconciliation Commission is primarily concerned with the restoration of peace and stability in the nation.

Prominent figures included in the 41-member Reconciliation Commission encompass religious figures, as well as politicians like former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn whose nomination, in fact, sparked heated debate among commentators.

Similarly, prominent personalities have also been included to the newly established Administrative Boundary and Identity Commission.

The Administrative Boundary and Identity Commission aims to study the root causes of different conflicts in different parts of the country often related to boundaries and administrative issues.

The Commission is expected to bring recommendations to the House of Federation (HoF) and the Parliament. Ultimately, the nomination passed with a majority vote, while 22 voted against and 4 abstained.