Parties Urge Ethiopian Lawmakers Not to Ratify Electoral Bill 

ADDIS ABABA – Thirty-three opposition parties have called for members of parliament to retract newly proposed electoral and political parties draft law.

The parties took part in a consultative meeting to discuss the draft law, prepared by the national electoral board of Ethiopia or NEBE.

Most of them walked out of the discussion held last week.

In a press briefing on Thursday, the parties have requested the bill should get, not only MPs approval, but should also get “unanimous support from all political parties”.

It should be sent back to the council of ministers so that they can revisit it, said in a resolution they gave to media houses.

All Ethiopians Unionist party, New Generation Party, Ethiopian People Revolutionary party, Afar People Liberation Party, Agew Democratic Party, Ethiopian Democratic Union, Harare Democratic Organization are among the 33 Parties that said they are against the bill.

More discussions should be conducted until parties reach a final agreement, said the parties, who walk away from last week’s discussion.

“We were not trying to undervalue the house’s power or the electoral board,” said one of the parties. “It’s common to see this as one of the ways of expressing disagreement in a democratic society.”

Their resolution calls for the revision of 20 articles and the removal of 13 more articles from the proposed law.

It is that way that parties can compete well in the current political arena, they said.

One of the articles that the parties whined about is the need for a party member running for a seat in the house of parliament to get 10,000 signatures from his constituency.

The same article also requires 4,000 signatures of endorsement for a party member running for the regional council.

The parties also called for articles that prohibit conducting election campaigns within 200 meters of educational institutions, religious spaces, military camps or police stations to be changed.

Parties should be allowed to conduct their campaign in those areas as long as political parties are not inside the premises of these places, their resolution calls for.

By Sisay Sahlu

Caption: Birtukan Mideksa met the political parties to discuss the bill last week (Photo File)