The hall of Ethiopian parliament in Addis Ababa

MPs Discuss Electoral & Political Parties Bill

ADDIS ABABA- Members of parliament on Thursday have held their first discussion on the revised electoral and political parties’ bill.

The ratification of the bill is seen as key for parties that are not registered in Ethiopia but plan to compete in the 2020 national election.

Shitaye Minale, deputy house speaker of the house, the drafting process of the bill is part of Ethiopia’s preparation to host credible elections.

She said the document will take in several laws as one. Accordingly, the draft law, when ratified, will repeal three election and political parties-related proclamations, said Shitaye.

The laws that could potentially be revoked as a result of the new bill include the amended electoral law of Ethiopia proclamation No 573/2008 and proclamation No 662/2009 of the electoral code of conduct for political parties.

The bill states manners political parties can merge, form alliances and build coalitions and how the process should be regulated, among other things.

It also contains a provision that bans police forces, security and intelligence affiliates, and election board members as well as its employees from being a member of any political parties. It will also increase the number of founding members for regional and federal political parties.

In order to ease the registration process of parties, the bill also says the electoral board can give a provisional registration certificate.

It also forces political parties to be gender inclusive both in membership and leadership positions.

According to the draft bill, political parties who have any resentment or discontent concerning the result of the election and the decisions of the electoral board can appeal to courts.

After Thursday’s deliberation, the lower house of the parliament sent the bill to its legal, justice, and democratic affairs standing committee with a majority vote and one abstention.

The draft proclamation will be the subject of several parliament-led discussions. Its ratification, however, will have to wait at least until the two-month-long parliamentary summer recess is over.

By Sisay Sahlu