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HPR votes to postpone Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, local elections

HPR votes to postpone Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, local elections

The Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa Cities Council and local election scheduled to be conducted this year has been postponed for the upcoming year by a parliamentary vote, this week.

With factors such as the extended period of unrest the nation has endured in the past three years and the current State of Emergency hanging over the election, the House of Peoples Representatives (HPR) passed a resolution to postpone the election by at least a year with even setting a specific date for it.

The House, on its 19th regular session, passed the resolution with majority vote, while eight MPs elected to abstain from voting.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has been preparing to conduct the election in accordance with the timetable which was set before the prevailing security concerns in Ethiopia; and hence forced legislators to postpone the election for one more year.

The voting came ten days after the swearing-in of Abiy Ahmed (PhD) as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and currently has begun touring various regional states as part of his promise to restore the nation’s stability and bring solution for the crisis that shook the nation to its cores.

It was said, despite NEBE’s attempt to realize the necessary prerequisites to undertake the election in its scheduled timeline, "security challenges that were rampant in different parts of the country have affected preparations and ability to effectively conduct the elections."

However, before the resolution was passed, it encountered series of questions from MPs who were concerned over the legality and constitutionality of postponing a periodical election which is enshrined both in the country’s constitution and the charters of both Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa cities. On top of that, MPs also raised questions with regard to the fate of the representatives whose term in office will effectively elapse following the postponement of the election for the next year.

 Furthermore, MPs also questioned the wisdom of leaving an open-ended date for the election following its postponement for the upcoming year.

Meanwhile, there were also other MPs who feared the election next year might clash with the 2020 General election (nationwide), at least as far as preparation for the election is concerned.