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Ethiopian House approves postponement of elections

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On Thursday, 11 June 2020 the Ethiopian House of Federation approved the postponement of the fourth national housing and population census due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The upper house also extended the life of the government until the election and a transfer of power take place and the terms of the councils of federal, regional, and executive bodies until the impacts of coronavirus pandemic are over.

The house’s decision followed a report submitted to it by the Constitutional Inquiry Committee, an advisory body that dwelt and gathered information on whether the sixth general election can be postponed through legal means without causing a constitutional crisis.

The existing Ethiopian constitution stipulates that general elections should be held every five years.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) in March announced its pre-election activities were hampered due to the ongoing state of emergency declared to stem the Covid-19 pandemic and that it would be impossible to organise the polls next August.

The resolution extending terms of the councils due to the coronavirus pandemic was tabled by the constitutional interpretation and identity affairs standing committee of the House.

The committee also proposed the 6th general elections be conducted within nine months to one year after the pandemic is declared by global, continental, and national health bodies to no longer pose a threat to public health and the House approved their suggestion.

The House approved the resolution by one-hundred and fourteen votes in favour, four against and one abstention.


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