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The joint session of two houses to postpone census

Joint session of two houses to postpone census

In a rare turn of events the joint session of two houses, the House of Peoples' Representatives (HPR) and the House of the Federation (HOF), is scheduled to convene on Monday April 30, 2018 to pass the decision to postpone the National Census, The Reporter has learnt.

The decision to convene the two Houses is taken in pursuant to a constitutional amendment made in 2005 to give power to the joint session of the two Houses to decide if there is adequate ground to do so.

The 2005 constitutional amendment was forced up on the legislative bodies due to a clash in program between the National census and the national election which happened to coincide that year. After approval by both houses and the regional councils of the members of Ethiopian Federation, the amendment was passed noting that the joint session will take responsibility to make changes to schedule of the national census.

Usually Ethiopian national census is due to take place every ten years but the budget toll and other logistical considerations were believed to be too great to handle for state structure if the census is to coincide with other national programs including the election.

Nevertheless, both procedure and content of the constitutional amendment is criticized by legal experts like Ali Abdu Hijra. According to him, the notion of allowing the legislative to postpone such a consequential decision like census at its discretion is dangerous. "And certainly not for reasons like financial capacity or convenience," he says.

Furthermore, Abdu also takes issue with the fact that this so-called amendment is not published in Negarit gazette, the official publication of legal proclamations in Ethiopia.

In a separate meeting, the House of the Federation will elect a new speaker in place of its outgoing speaker Yalew Abate.