Ethiopia: Election Board Declines to Restore TPLF’s Legal Registration as Political Party
Addis Abeba — On 18 February 2023, the TPLF celebrated the 48th anniversary of its foundation with various events held in Mekelle and other parts of the Tigray regional state. Photo: TPLF.
The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) declined to reinstate Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) registration as a political party on grounds that it is not supported by the electoral law.
In January 2021, NEBE cancelled TPLF’s as a political party citing the party has engaged in armed violence against the government; it also prevented TPLF officials from operating on behalf of the party. In the same decision the board also requested the Federal Attorney General’s office to investigate TPLF’s movable and immovable assets and after the party’s debts were paid off, for its remaining assets to be utilized for civic and voter education programs as per Proclamation number 1162/2019 article 99/3 of the Ethiopian Electoral, Political Parties Registration and Election’s Code of Conduct Proclamation.
The Board said this morning that in a letter written last week, the TPLF requested it to reverse the decisions on the grounds that the war has ended with the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed between the government and the TPLF in Pretoria on 02 November last year.
However, the Board said that based on the request, it has investigated the matter in a meeting it held yesterday, and decided that “even though the armed violence that was the reason for the board’s decision as stated in the party’s letter no longer exists, there are no provisions in Proclamation number 1162/2019 to restore the legal personality to the party.”
Instead, NEBE said that TPLF can acquire a legal personality and operate as a political party in accordance with Article 66 of Proclamation 1162/2019 and its subsequent provisions when it submits a re-registration request and the board approves the request based on the law.
Furthermore, NEBE said that TPLF’s request regarding its decision on the party’s officials and its property were the outcome of the party’s cancellation by the board, therefore not qualified to be requested as new. Subsequently, NEBE said it has rejected the request.
It is to be recalled that the House of Peoples Representatives (HoPR) during its 6th round, 2nd year, 1st special meeting held on 22 March has de-listed the terrorist designation of the TPLF by a majority vote, 61 against, and five abstentions.
Removing the terrorist designation of the party was included in the AU brokered CoHA which stipulated that as part of the implementation of the CoHA the federal government should “facilitate the lifting of the terrorist designation of the TPLF by the House of People’s Representatives.”
Getachew Reda, member of the TPLF’s Executive Committee was already elected to lead the interim administration of the regional state, with 18 votes out of the 41 members of the TPLF’s central Committee in a party election procedure held on 17 March.
Subsequently, on 23 March the Office Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ahmed said PM Abiy has “appointed” Getachew Reda as head of the Interim Regional Administration (IRA) of Tigray regional state. AS