Members of Ethiopian House of Federation say the speaker called a meeting which she was meant to preside over
June 8, 2020
Keria Ibrahim, Speaker of the Ethiopian House of the Federation (Upper House), on Monday announced that she has resigned.
In a televised statement aired on Tigray Mass Media Agency (TMMA) TV, she said “I cannot oversee a process as speaker of the Federation, a decision that endangers the constitution.”
Interpreting the constitution is the business of the House of Federation. Under the guise of the Constitutional Inquiry Commission, she said, the government is trying to impose a decision that will lead to a dictatorial government which she says is “unacceptable to her conscience.”
The House of Federation has opposed her decision saying that her resignation came a day before a regular meeting of the House of the Federation which she called, as reported by Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC). According to the Ethiopian Constitution, the House of Federation needs to make at least two meetings per year, and the House has five years term.
The coordinating committee that works with the Speaker said they were not aware of any differences until she spoke about it in the media on Monday, January 8, 2020.
Mohammed Reshid Hadji who is deputy speaker of the House of Federation is cited as saying “She had a good meeting with the coordinating committee and approved agenda [for the upcoming meeting on Tuesday].”
Fana Broadcasting Corporation also cited a member of the House of Federation (without naming names) who said that there are procedures and ethics in tendering resignation, but the speaker did not observe it in
All members of the federations are called for the meeting, and the scheduled meeting is not canceled following the resignation of the speaker.
The speaker of the House’s resignation has triggered speculation that her decision has something to do with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) political position regarding the election. The latter has decided to go ahead with the regional election in August which the Federal government did not take lightly. The Federal government threatened to take legal actions against “illegal elections.”
With the COVID 19 pandemic situation in the country, the House of People’s Representative approved National Electoral Board of Ethiopia’s decision that Ethiopia’s sixth general election cannot take place in August as scheduled as the COVID 19 prevention measures and the nature of the pandemic makes it difficult to carry on with election-related activities that needed to happen before the election.
The parliament discussed four possible options in an expressed intent to find a legal solution to what many calls a constitutional crisis. One of them was to seek a constitutional interpretation to “constitutionally” extend the election.
A Constitutional Inquiry Commission was tasked to see if there is any constitutional ground to extend the general election through interpretation, and the hearing has already been completed.
The House of Federation was expected to pass a decision based on the findings of the Inquiry Commission. And the Speaker of the House of Federation was expected to preside over the meeting, the agenda of which was drafted under her leadership.
The Ethiopian government has not officially reacted to the news. But the House of Federation has, as indicated above, decided to go ahead with the meeting.
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