ADDIS ABABA – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed held talks with leaders of opposition parties on the progress of the recruiting process of members for the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).
Saturday’s consultative meeting was held a couple of days after his recruitment committee disclosed the shortlisted candidates for the five slots of membership for the board.
The consultation with political parties was held “to solicit inputs on the NEBE board nominees shortlisted which will be presented to parliament”, this week, said the Office of the Prime Minister.
“Participants reiterated trust in the process and appreciated the engagement,” the Office said after the meeting.
Eight candidates are shortlisted for four vacant positions on the election board. Unlike the previous times, the soon-to-be approved members will be full-time employees of the NEBE.
Since the call for the public to nominate for the NEBE membership position, the committee received about 200 names for the position via phone, fax, and electronic mail.
Dr. Meshesha Shewarega, chair of the recruiting committee, told the state-run EBC that, after three phases of screening, the committee shortlisted eight candidates.
These candedates are Megabi Zerihun Degu, Melaku Sebhat Bedane, Wubshet Ayele Gete, Berhane Moges Fikir, Demoze Mamo, Bizuwork Ketete, Getahun Kassa and Abera Degefu Negawo.
The prime minister has scheduled to present them for the parliament to pick four out of the eight, this week.
Saturday’s consultation meeting helps involve the opposition parties in the election process of the nominees who will be key for the upcoming national election and regional elections.
Abiy’s ruling coalition or EPRDF has been in power in Ethiopia since 1991. The coalition and its affiliated parties are currently holding all seats in parliament.
In November 2018, Prime minister Abiy appointed Birtukan Mideksa as head of the board preparing for the next national elections, scheduled for 2020.
Birtukan was among the opposition figures arrested in the violent aftermath of a 2005 vote – when an opposition coalition stood against the government across the country, then challenged the EPRDF’s victory.
The prime minister has already pledged to open up a political arena dominated by his coalition, and said the 2020 national election will be “free & fair”.