Board chair made the announcement amid reports that reinstalling the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) as a legal entity turned out to be a deadlock to the point that it required political intervention from Abiy Ahmed’s administration
The Chairperson of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, Bertukan Midedssa, on Monday, announced their resignation from the role.
In a brief update she shared on her social media page, She said that she will be resigning as of August 7, 2023. Until then, she said that she will work on unfinished tasks on her turf and on making arrangements for administrative transition.
“When I started my work as Chairperson of the National Electoral Board, it was with the aim to make our institution credible and capable of administering elections independently. I have been striving to discharge my responsibility to organize referendums, national elections and administering political parties in good faith, in fairness and observing their legality over the past four years and six months,” she said in her statement.
She also indicated that she has notified the office of the Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament regarding her decision. The Speaker, at this writing, did not remark on it.
Birtukan related her resignation to health, the details of which are not provided.
However, there have been numerous reports from local sources recently that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a radical ethnic Tigray Political organization that the Ethiopian Parliament designated as a “terrorist organization” in May 2021 in view of an orchestrated attack on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force and extensive war crime like measures in the Afar and Amhara region, move to get legal status in Election Board has turned out to be an acrimonious one between the board and Abiy Ahmed’s administration.
The TPLF lost legal status with the election board after it was designated as a terrorist organization.
There were also reports that Abiy Ahmed’s government has passed a political decision to bypass the legal deadlock to recognize the TPLF as a legally registered political party.
Resignation of high profile Chairs of Board members is recurring. A week or so ago, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Ethiopian Airlines, Ato Girma Wake, whose experience as CEO of the Airline was needed when appointed as Chairperson, announced his resignation unexpectedly. He was replaced by the Chief of the Ethiopian AirForce, Let. General Yilma Merdassa.
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia administered three referendums and one national election over the past four and half years under the leadership of Bertukan Mideksa.
Bertukan, who expressed gratitude for NEBE staff in the course of her role as chairperson, did not say anything if her next move is retirement or pursuit of some other roles. She also expressed gratitude for Abiy Ahmed for nominating her for the role.
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