Despite complaints from opposition coalition election board stand by New Law

Mahlet Fasil/AS

NEBE chairwoman Birtuka Mideksa gave press briefing on a number of issues related to the new electoral law, reform within the NEBE and election 2020

Addis Abeba, September 05/2019 – Despite complaints from the Joint Council of Political Parties, representing 107 opposition parties, and a threat to boycott Ethiopia’s 2020 general elections, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) chairwoman, Birtukan Mideksa, stood by the new Electoral and Political Parties Law of Ethiopia.

In a press briefing she gave to local media on September 04, Birtukan said that three different discussions involving all stakeholders have taken place before the national parliament approved the new Electoral and Political Parties Law on August 24.

Addis Standard@addisstandard

: In its urgent session held today, Ethiopian parliament unanimously approved the new electoral bill. The Parliament voted against proposed clause suggesting giving priority for women candidates who receive equal votes with men during elections. 

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Birtukan’s statement came in the backdrop of a threat to boycott the 2020 general elections by a coalition of opposition parties. One of the main issues the opposition block complained about is the amendments in the electoral law raising the number of founding members to establish a national party 10,000, up from 1,500; and 4,000 to establish regional parties, up from 750. The opposition block are also contesting the provision in the new electoral law that should a civil servant wishes to participate in elections s/he should take unpaid leave from office.

According to Birtukan before the national parliament approved the new law, it has been discussed for three times on broad by all relevant stakeholders including the ruling coalition EPRDF, parties that returned to Ethiopia from exile and those whose leaders have been released from prison. “It is not a problem to say that these discussions were not enough, but to say “we did not see it [or] did not participate in it” is a lie because we can release minutes of each discussions including the list of political parties that participated in the discussions and points raised during the discussions,” she said.

With regard to the reforms that are taking place within the NEBE, Birtukan said that the board has now the complete list of its independent members and is working to bring the reforms and restructures to the lower levels. Works to assign some 250, 000 election implementing officials throughout the nine regional states and the two chartered cities are also underway with emphasis to separate the works of the board from wereda and kebele offices and officials, which used to be the norm in the past, raising legitimate concerns of impartiality.

The Board is also working on setting qualification requirements for election officials, which stipulates heads of election officials to hold first degrees and five years of work experiences in either of the following academic disciplines: political science, management, information technology, statistics and related fields. Those who hold masters degrees in the any of the above disciplines are expected to have four years work experiences.

Asked if the electoral board considers holding the next election without conducting census, which was postponed for the second time, as a challenge, Birtukan said that the delayed census will have no impact since the board will be conducting the election based primarily on registered voters, which is expected to be around 50 million. The board will however collect data from the central statistic authority other and other secondary sources as additional input to restructure its polling stations, which is primarily done by the 547 parliamentary constituencies. “As I mentioned repeatedly in the past, at the end of the day the numbers that matter the most are the numbers of registered voters which the board will be in possession of,” she said. AS


  1. I told you a million times our women are more talented than our men including this septuagenarian me. So assertive and well read on top of that a 24-7 nightmare to every living and breathing sinking chauvinist pig out there, I am 100% sure that the misogynists there will do everything in their usurped power to trip her. They will devise every diabolical scheme to lead her into blind spots, into a ditch and they will blow their dragon breath with ‘foul!!!’. This very capable daughter/sister of ours, Birtukan bint Mideksa should be protected from these satanic male chauvinists. All glory to our women!!!! Go get’em tigress!!!

  2. I agree with Aba Ittu.
    I was watching briefing Chief Election Commissioner Birtukan gave to the media the other day. I was simply impressed by her poise and clarity of mind. Let us not forget the confidence we witness came after the dogs had put her through hell! The dogs are by the way side now, though their puppies are still around. One of the reasons I appreciate PM Abiy is for his selection of Birtukan and several others to important public posts.

  3. This is another firebrand and fearless over qualified person you don’t wanna pick a fight with!!! I bet you the last penny I have that every misogynist man over there is busy conniving every dreamed up scheme to trip her into a ‘folly’ and lambaste with his loud mouth ‘foul!!!’

    Keep up the good work tigress!!!!

  4. ” ……… Birtukan said that the delayed census will have no impact since the board will be conducting the election based primarily on registered voters, which is expected to be around 50 million.”

    However, how can be sure that expected no. of people will be registered with many of them lacks confidence for upcoming election. Census is very important to predict at least what numbers are ready or willing to elect.

    By the way how long opposition parties are ready to compete as no public discussion are done so far?
    So many questions are raised despite short period are remaining to conduct you election.


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