Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Ethiopia's Electoral Board Revokes TPLF's Legitimacy

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Ethiopians from the Tigray region hold a protest in Pretoria, South Africa, on November 25, 2020.

Nation Media Group

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that it has revoked the legal status of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) as a political party.

The officials said the decision was made after the board's evaluation process that confirmed that TPLF has engaged in armed rebellion and hence can't any longer meet the criteria to own a legal status.

The board said it has confirmed the party's involvement in the violence, citing statements made by the party and publicly available facts to determine whether the TPLF was involved in the violence.

Furthermore,  the electoral board alleged that it has tried to contact a former representatives of TPLF's Addis Ababa office, who had been working as a liaison between the party and the board, to give him a chance to respond but the alleged representative said he could not represent the party.

However, the board did not specify about the individuals who were reportedly approached to see if they can represent the party.

Accordingly, the board has decided that the party officials will not any longer be able to represent or act on behalf of the party.

The board has further requested the Attorney General to disclose the details of the investigation into the assets registered under the name of the TPLF.

In accordance with Article 99 (2) of Proclamation 1162/2011, the property of the party shall be cleared and the debt should be used to cover the debt. 

However, the Board has decided that the remaining finances and assets should be used for civic and voters education in accordance with Article 99 (3) of this Proclamation.

In addition to the National Electoral Board's decision against the TPLF, it ordered three other political parties operating in Tigray to provide explanation on allegations that they were involved in illegal elections and acts of violence.

Last year's national and regional elections were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the TPLF won a landslide victory in the regional elections, conducted in defiance to federal government.

However the elections which were not recognized by the federal government and electoral board served as a major dispute leading to civil war on Ethiopia's northern Tigray region.

After the election, relations with the federal government deteriorated further, and the TPLF was ousted from the region following a federal government military operation in late October following an attack on the northern command in the Tigray region.

TPLF leaders are being held accountable by federal police and the Attorney General for inciting violence and inciting violence against federal forces in the region.

Several Top TPLF's military and political leaders and executive committee members of the party, including deputy president of Tigray regional state, were captured or killed during the law enforcement operation ordered by PM Abiy Ahmed.

However the fates of TPLF's leader, Debretsion Gebremicheal, and other top TPLF officials remain unknown as fighting reportedly continues in several parts of the Tigray region.

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