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The National Election Board of Ethiopia held a consultation with political parties on the legal framework and implementation of local elections

NEBE held the consultation with political parties on the legal framework and implementation of local elections on September 3, 2022. The consultation was attended by the Chairperson of the Board, Birtukan Mideksa, members of the Board management, the CEO of the Board, and various representatives of political parties, and a representative from the Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council.

The Chairperson of the board opened the consultation citing it is the second time that the legal framework and implementation of local elections have been discussed. In the previous consultation, she said that all relevant stakeholders were invited, but this one is conducted only with political parties in cooperation with the Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council. In addition, the Chairperson said that the purpose of the discussion was to spend enough time on the issue and see the hopes and challenges of local elections from the perspective of political parties. She also expressed her belief that better resources can be obtained out of this consultation.

Faisal Abdulaziz, a representative of the Joint Council of Political Parties, said that the Joint Council had been working hard to prepare this discussion in cooperation with the Board and added that this is done to allow political parties to pay due attention and participate in local elections without any limitation of awareness. Following this, Zemalak Ayele (Ph.D.) and Christoph Van Der Beken (Ph.D.), who conducted research on the legal framework and implementation of local elections, presented their research to the participants; and the participants of the discussion shared their perspectives on opportunities and threats.

In addition, the participants asked for the understanding of the Board regarding local elections. The Chairperson of the Board gave responses for the issues raised and added that each region and locality have a different size, population, and government structure and considering all these factors, the board has not planned to hold local elections on the same day in all places so that the elections meet their purposes. According to Birtukan, although the Board has not decided the exact date, it is planning to hold local elections in most of the regions in this fiscal year and will prepare a detailed time schedule for it.

She has also added that, based on the research presented, the Board will enable the enactment of laws that should be implemented to create favorable conditions for holding local elections. The Chairperson has also added that the guidelines issued by the board will be amended to help with this, and an independent guideline will also be prepared by the Board. She stressed that one of the parties' focus should be on what good contribution they can make to hold the elections.

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