Ethiopian Opposition Party Calls for a Caretaker Government of Technocrats

As Ethiopian government is considering various options after the next general election is cancelled due to Coronavirus situation, one of the opposition parties proposed formation of care taker government of technocrats

Ethiopian opposition _ Democracy
Image: from the official Facebook page of Balderas (resized)

By Bernabas Shiferaw
May 4, 2020

Balderas for Genuine Democracy has called for, in its press release today, for the establishment of ‘a caretaker government of technocrats’ at the end of the current term of government in October. 

Following the government’s decision not to hold an election before its current term ends and its announcement of four alternatives aimed at extending its term last week, many opposition parties are questioning the legality of the government’s proposal and proposing, instead, that a political bargain should commence to carry out a successful transition towards a democratic election.  

But many have been criticizing such a solution claiming that the political divide among political parties does not allow for a calm political bargain and consequently could lead to further political turmoil and conflict instead of a transition to democracy. The Prime Minister had also severely spoken against such a proposition in his meeting with leaders of political parties concerning the issue. 

Balderas has also criticized both propositions. It has deemed the government’s attempt at extending its term and the four alternatives proposed to make that possible to be “not just incapable of saving the country from the dangers it is facing, but also without any legal grounds.” It has also criticized the government for excluding major opposition parties “including Balderas” from the discussion held on the issue last week.

It has also called the second proposed solution by many opposition parties of establishing a transitional government through a political bargain “an alternative put forward by those who want to disintegrate the Country.”

In the press release, the party claimed that its proposed solution overcomes the objections raised against both the government’s attempt to extend its current term and a transitional government to be formed by political bargain. According to Mr. Eskinder Negga, the president of the party, the alternative of ‘technocracy’ was chosen because it could maintain the unity, peace and security of the country, it can be kept clear of affiliations with political parties and ideologies, and because there are other internationally known instances where it was used to achieve successful transitions, like Italy’s technocrat government before the one that is now in power. 

Such a government would be made of intellectuals and experts at the proposition of political and civic organizations with the international community observing the process. The experts must have no past affiliation with any political organization. This government would take over the government from the party that is currently in power and run it for two years. Its mandate would be limited to maintaining the country’s sovereignty and its internal peace and security, building institutions that are necessary for free and fair election, executing the daily tasks of the government and making arrangements for a peace convention among political parties and citizens. 

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