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Wednesday September 9, 2020, Election day in Tigray

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Ethiopia's Tigray region votes, defying Abiy's federal government

Officials holding polls warn that any federal government intervention would amount to a 'declaration of war'.

People have begun voting in a local election in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, defying the federal government and increasing political tensions in Africa's second-most populous country.

Tigray officials holding polls on Wednesday for the 190-seat regional parliament have warned that any intervention by the federal government would amount to a "declaration of war".

They have objected to the postponement of the national and regional elections, originally scheduled for August, because of the coronavirus pandemic and the extension of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's time in office.

Ethiopia's upper house of parliament, which mediates constitutional disputes, ruled on Saturday that the polls for regional parliaments and other positions were unconstitutional.

While Abiy has ruled out military intervention, there are fears that any punitive measures by the federal government could further escalate tensions.

The Tigray defiance of the federal government is the latest challenge to the administration of Abiy, who is struggling to hold together a federation that stitches Ethiopia's 80-plus ethnic groups into a nation.

Abiy took office in early 2018 and introduced several political reforms and peace initiatives that raised optimism in his country and saw him win the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

Why Tigray matters

Tigray has dominated Ethiopian politics since the region's governing party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), led an armed struggle to remove the communist Derg government in 1991.

Leaders from the ethnic group, which makes up only 6 percent of Ethiopia's 110 million population, went on to dominate Ethiopia's politics for nearly 30 years.

But that ended after anti-government protests swept Abiy to power in 2018.

Some 2.7 million people in the Tigray region are expected to cast their votes at more than 2,600 polling stations, regional election officials said.

A regional broadcaster, Tigray TV, showed voters lining up in the early hours on Wednesday.

Two residents of the regional capital, Mekelle, told The Associated Press there was tight security in the city and surrounding areas, with motorcycles and auto rickshaws banned from the city as of Tuesday evening.

On Monday, Ethiopian security officials prevented a dozen people, including four journalists and a senior think-tank analyst, from flying to Tigray to cover the vote.

Separately, a non-governmental organisation told AP they had been barred from observing the election "for no sufficient reason". The group, Seb Hidri, said the TPLF was behind the ban.


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3 hours ago, Miskiin-Macruuf-Aqiyaar said:

Aawey our Tigrey guest on SOL? Is he partaking this illegal election?

Possibly. TPLF humiliated Abiy today. Let's ser how he reacts.

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 addisstandard /  September 11, 2020 



Addis Abeba, September 11/2020 – Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party of Tigray regional state, has won 98.2% of the vote for the regional parliament, taking 152 of the total 190 seats.

Muluwork Kidanemariam, Commissioner of the Office of Electoral Commission of the National Regional State of Tigray, told BBC Amharic that the remaining 38 seats in the council will be distributed among the four opposition parties that participated in the election.

Five parties including TPLF have participated in the regional election on September 09. According to the preliminary results announced by the Electoral Commission of the National Regional State of Tigray the number of votes secured by the five parties is stated as following: TPLF: 2, 590, 620; Baytona: 20, 839; Tigray Independence Party: 18, 479; Salsay Weyane Tigray: 3, 136; and and Asimba Democratic Party :774. Some 2.7 million people were registered to vote in the election on Wednesday. Muluwork told local media that 98% of the registered voters have cast their voted in any of the 2,672 polling stations.

On August 06, Tigray National Regional Council has amended Art. 48/2 of the regional state’s Constitution changing the First Past the Post clause in the constitution by Mixed Electoral System. Accordingly, a decision was made to make 20% the seats in the regional council available for opposition political parties that participated in the election, Muluwork told BBC Amharic.

Prior to the election, Ethiopia’s upper house, the House of Federation (HoF), ruled the election as “unconstitutional” and in violation of Article 9(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) and the outcome would be “void, non-binding and non-applicable.”

Tigray regional state refused to comply with the ruling and instead blamed the the federal government for abandoning its constitutional duty to hold the general election under the pretext of the COVID -19 pandemic. “The people’s right to be administered by leaders of their choice and the unconditional right to self-determination granted by the constitution cannot be stopped even by state of emergency proclamation,” Amanuel Asefa, Head of Tigray Regional State Justice Bureau, told Addis Standard. AS

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They have humiliated Abiy and the federal government. Yet, the TPLF probably wanted to take all the seats from Tigray and avoid the spilliting of their votes.

At the end they may make peace with Abiy and convince him to seat their elected representatives in Addis demying Abiy and his PP any influence in Tigray.

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