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OLF, OFC oppose election postponement process

OLF, OFC oppose election postponement process

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) expressed their frustration over the process of the recent decision made by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to postpone the upcoming general election, which was scheduled to take place on August 29 2020.

The two parties stated that there was one round of discussions between the Board and political parties including OLF and OFC regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on the process of the election. And according to the two political parties, the Board and parties have agreed to hold another round of discussions before any decisions made; however, the decision of the Board to postpone the election unilaterally is inappropriate.

The Board on Tuesday issued a statement announcing the postponement of the much-anticipated general election following discussions and consultation with political parties and stakeholders. In this regard, the two parties made it clear that there were discussions between the two sides; however, OLF and OFC opposed the process because, “even though the Board promised the parties and various stakeholder that it will organize another round of discussion and consultation to decide on the fate of the general election the Board unilaterally made the decision without even notifying us,” the statement the two parties issued reads.

Regarding the reason of the postponement of the upcoming general election, the statement issued by the Board stated, “due to the outbreak of the pandemic, the Board realized that it could not carry out the general election according to the plan and hence has suspended activities that were supposed to take place according to the timetable."

Even though the Board has already decided, the OLF and OFC once again urged the government to organize a forum for further discussions and consultations on “what to be done” in the presence of representatives from political parties, civil society organizations and other stakeholders.

It can be recalled that back in February 14, 2020 the Board announced the timetable for the general election; and accordingly voting was expected to take place on August 29, 2020. Apart from this, campaigning was between May 28 and August 24 and the announcement of the final result of the elections was scheduled to be from August 30 to September 8. However, the current global pandemic forced the Board to postpone this timetable and stated that it will announce another timetable once the situation is put under control.