Ethiopian Lawmakers to Ratify Political Parties Bill Saturday   

ADDIS ABABA – The lower house of the Ethiopian parliament is expected to approve the revised Ethiopian Electoral and Political Parties draft law on Saturday.

Members of Parliaments are summoned for a second emergency meeting from summer recess.  They will discuss and ratify the draft proclamation on Saturday, said the lower house of Ethiopian parliament in a statement.

The bill states manners of political parties that can merge, form an alliance and build coalitions and how the process should be regulated. It has been a center of discussions among various political parties since it appeared before the parliament on two months for the first hearing.

Subsequently, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has been conducting several meetings with political parties concerning the substances of the bill.

While many agree with the content, many more are yet to be convinced with the NEBE’s bill.

On Friday, 57 parties urged members of parliament not to approve the bill without having all parties are in agreement with its content.

Their concerns emanate from 13 articles, which they want to be annulled.

The parties on Friday requested the legislators not to pass the bill which they feel will have a negative impact on the culture of a democratic election and the rights of forming political parties.

A representative of the parties, Geresu Gesa, said the revised political parties and election bill has put the right to form a party in danger.

The bill is formulated in a way to weaken political parties and there should be more discussion among political parties, Geresu added.

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

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

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

The ratification of the bill is seen as key for parties that are yet registered in Ethiopia but plan to compete in the 2020 national election.

By Sisay Sahlu

 

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