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The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) holds discussions on two draft guidelines with stakeholders.

The two draft directives discussed by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia are rules and regulations regarding the prevention of COVID 19 and the effort to ensure peace and security during the electoral process. The first forum was held on January 22, 2021 with health professionals, political parties and security forces. The next day’s meeting, conducted on January 26, was held with civil society organizations and stakeholders.

The discussions on both occasions were opened by Birtukan Mideksa, Chairwoman of the Board. In her speech, she explained that the directives are designed by considering the prevention of Covid-19 during the election as it is inevitable to restrict the movement of people, and what is expected of all parties involved. It is also designed in a manner that does not have any impact on the free movement of voters and political parties and that respects the rights of officials and observers. Expressing the importance of inputs from the participants, Birtukan also thanked local and foreign experts who participated in the preparation of the two guidelines.

The first day of the discussion was chaired by the Deputy Chairperson of the Board, Woubshet Ayele while the second day's discussion was led by the Board's member, Buzuwork Ketete. During the two-day discussions, Wongel Abate, a member of the Board's Legal Department gave detail explanation about the guidelines and the forum was opened to participants. Responses to the comments forwarded on the first day were given by the legal expert Wongel Abate, Covid 19 Coordinator of NEBE Dr. Iman Abdulhakim, and Board Chairwoman Birtukan Mideksa. Similarly, Wongel and Abdulhakim also gave responses to the comments forwarded by the participants.

In the second round of discussions on both days, the legal expert Solomon Girma gave detail explanation about the working procedure and code of conduct of security bodies which is formulated by the Board based on the power vested upon it as per Article 7 Sub-Article 11 and Article 8 Sub-Article 1 of the Board Establishment Proclamation No. 1133/2019, and Article 163 Sub-Article 2 of the Ethiopian Electoral, Political Parties Registration and Electoral Ethics Proclamation No. 1162/2019. Following the briefing, the participants also forwarded their respective opinions. Solomon also responded to the questions and other inputs were gathered before the conclusion of the meeting.

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