Regime claims that Ethiopian parliament approved SoE but numbers emerging on social media show there was no enough vote to make two-thirds of the parliament.
March 2, 2018
Ethiopian parliament approved the state of emergency (SoE), claimed pro-regime media outlet Fana Broadcasting Corporation. The parliament has 547 seats in total. As per the constitutional provision of article 93 section 1, approval needs two-thirds of the votes of the members of the parliament. According to the source, the SoE was approved with 395 “Yes” vote, 88 “No” vote and 7 abstains.
However, a figure from the opposition does not show that the regime did not get enough votes to pass the state of emergency. According to ESAT sources, 106 members of parliament did not show up for the vote. 88 members voted “No” and 7 members of parliament abstained. That makes the number of members of parliament who voted in favor of SoE only 346 which is not adequate to constitute two-thirds of the vote.
It has to be noted that all members of the parliament belong to the ruling coalition party, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. And it is composed of four ethnic-based parties.
For a parliament that used to be an easy rubberstamps, it is unprecedented in its more than two decades of history for a considerable number of members of parliament to vote against on politically important matters like the SoE. As many political observers say, it is indicative of the level of division within the ruling coalition.
Based on emerging information on social media (from activists), most of the members of parliament who voted against the SoE are members of Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO). Ironically, speaker of the House, Abba Dual Gemeda, is from the same political organization. He rescinded his resignation letter which he announced in September of 2017 on grounds that “his people and organization [Oromo People’s Democratic Organization] were disrespected”
Members of organizations who do not show up in the parliamentary session for the vote are mostly from Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and OPDO.
Political observers say that even if the SoE did pass with no vote rigging, it does not mean that it will ease the political crisis in the country. On the contrary, it is very likely that the SoE could accentuate the existing problems; some even see the possibility of civil war. It has to be noted that this is the second state of emergency in less than a year. Now, the regime is facing far more crisis that it did when it decreed the first SoE a year ago which was extended by four months after six months. The current SoE is decreed for a period of six months and could be extended by four months.
Command Post, a military body that is presiding over the SoE, has been implementing the SoE for two weeks now before even it was “approved” by the parliament. Dozens of Ethiopians are reportedly killed in the Southern and Western parts of Ethiopia as the regime is aggressively implementing the SoE.
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