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Public discussion was held regarding the new Election and Political Parties Proclamation

July 25, 2019

It is to be recalled that the law and justice reform office’s democracy institution team under the Attorney General has summitted the draft Election and Political Parties proclamation after working together with the National Election Board of Ethiopian as well as consulting political parties. Yesterday, the Standing Committee on Democracy and Justice organized an open discussion with the participation of various political parties and civil society organizations. During this discussion, various questions on the law were clarified and two issues were discussed extensively. Drafting committee and board officials answered questions and explained in detail the basic principles of the law.

The two issues that were discussed extensively;

1. Opposition parties have stated that they will face difficulty in collecting the 10,000 signatures required for the formation of a national party. The chairperson of the board, Birtukan Mideksa, on her part said the fact that a national political party competing to form a government is required gathered 10,000 supporters is not challenging but will rather help to expand the social base of the political parties. She explained that it is important to have 10,000 supporters’ signatures in order to become a national party in a country with more than 100 million citizens.

2. There was also a great deal of discussion and debate in the section of the law that civil servants must temporarily resign from their government jobs when they run for office. Political parties have stated this will affect the participation of civil servants in elections. The national election board and the legal drafting team explained that public service should not be compromised due to political interest and it is also important in avoiding confusion between party and government resource. It also includes ways for controlling government resource used for election campaigning by political party in the name of government work. The Civil Service Proclamation also imposes similar restrictions.

In addition to the above two, various notions such as disability, strengthening women's participation were raised by the participants, aside from some recommendation such as the modification of the electoral system, which require constitutional revisions, all comments taking international practices into consideration will be included in the laws and be submitted to the committee.

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