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Statement From The Election Board To The Request Of Tigray Regional State Council To Hold Regional Council Elections

 June 24, 2020 

The Tigray Regional State Council requested the National Election Board to accept the states’ decision to conduct regional council election in accordance with the Constitution. The regional council also asked the board to provide the necessary manpower and logistics, and to inform the region’s council of NEBE’s decision. Article 102 (1) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Constitution stipulates that the National Election Board of Ethiopia is the sole authority that can conduct federal and state elections throughout the nation. Powers and responsibilities of the Board are determined in its establishment Proclamation No. 1133/2011, which also is in line with the Constitution. Article 7.1 further clarifies that this authority of the Board is applicable on all elections and referendums hold in the country.

In addition, the responsibilities of the Board are enshrined in various laws, such as Proclamation No. 1133/2011 and Proclamation No. 1162/2011. According to these laws, the board has exclusive authority on any activity in the election cycle, such as drawing time schedule for election, registering and monitoring political parties that will participate in the contest, recruiting and assigning election officials, establishing election stations, ensuring the free and fair conduct of the election, and disclosing the final results of the election to the public.

It is recalled that while the National Electoral Board was carrying out the necessary preparation to conduct the election, the international outbreak of Covid-19 disrupted the process. After consulting with stakeholders, the Board decided that the 6th general election could not be held in accordance with the timeline that was set previously and hence it notified the House of Peoples' Representative of its decision. The House accepted the Board’s decision after seeking a constitutional interpretation. On June 3, 2012 the House of Federation ruled that Covid-19 outbreak is a national health emergency and the election could not be held. It also ruled federal and state councils’ term of office to continue unto one year, and the election should be held in between that timeframe.

In light of current events, the Board has issued the following mandatory order:

1. The Board will not hold any election throughout the country until the Covid-19 pandemic is proved not a national health emergency,

2. 2. As cited above, the Board has exclusive rights to govern any election activity. In light of this, it is unfounded for Tigray region council to decide to hold regional council election and to demand the Board to assist in the process.

Hence, the Board would like to notify all concerned parties that it does not give recognition to Tigray region’s request and there are no legal grounds to provide the required assistance.

National Election Board of Ethiopia

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