Council Seeks Legal Experts’ View to Interpret Constitution

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia’s Council of Constitutional Inquiry (CCI) has called for constitutional law experts to submit amicus curiae brief on the conundrum related to the delayed election.

Ethiopian lawmakers approved last week a motion to get constitutional interpretation as the constitution does not explicitly provide ways to extend the government’s term when pandemic and election schedule coincide.

The motion is now in the hands of the Constitutional Inquiry Council, which is headed by Meaza Ashenafi, president of the Federal Supreme Court.

In a twitted message, Meaza said the Council has made an open call for a written amicus curia or an impartial advice brief from constitutional experts living here and abroad in the matter submitted to it by the lawmakers.

After getting the advice, the Council will hold a hearing with relevant institutions and prominent individuals, Ethiopia’s top judge said, without stating when.

“Such participation is important to demonstrate to the public the integrity of the process and the outcome as well as to cultivate a positive tradition of constitutionalism in Ethiopia,” she added.

Experts who want to send their legal expertise should be a constitutional law expert, who has a second degree and above, and served as judge and professor.

They should present their view in less than 3000 words attached together with their curriculum vitae, according to the open call.

The national vote scheduled for August was postponed last month because of the coronavirus pandemic. The term of the current government, headed by Abiy Ahmed, expires on Oct. 10, and it is unclear what mandate it will have to continue ruling without an election.

Lawmakers voted Tuesday for the upper house of parliament, known as the House of the Federation, to provide an interpretation of the constitution on the matter.

After receiving the resolution, the upper house sent it to CCI late last week to hear the council’s recommendation before holding its session. Several opposition parties are opposed to the decision.

By Sisay Sahlu

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