Monday 10 December 2018
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africanews - 19 days ago

Ethiopia to appoint new election chief on Thursday: could it be Birtukan Mideksa?

Ethiopia’s parliament will on Thursday appoint a new chairperson of the National Election Board, according to state-affiliate Fana Broadcasting (FanaBC). FanaBC said the House of People’s Representatives would replace Ambassador Sami Zekaria, who was appointed to the position last year. Local media are also reporting that Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge, who became a harsh critic of the ruling coalition and fled to exile, has been nominated for the role. Mideksa recently returned to Ethiopia from the United States, joining the many opposition supporters and critics of the previous administration who have been compelled to return by the ongoing reforms. Mideksa founded the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party in 2008, and had previously worked with opposition parties like Rainbow Ethiopia: Movement for Democracy and Social Justice and Coalition for Unity and Democracy. She has always been a vocal advocate for rule rule of law and respect for the constitution. Prime minister, Abiy Ahmed who has implemented several reforms across the political, economic, social and diplomatic front, has also recently appointed several women to key government positions. READ MORE: Highlights from inaugural speech of Ethiopia’s historic female president Election 2020 Abiy has also pledged to deliver a credible election in 2020, adding that he will conduct a smooth transition should the ruling coalition lose the election. The last two elections were decried by the opposition as shams following a messy poll in 2005, and the subsequent clampdown fuelled unrest and demands for greater political and social freedom. Several opposition parties, and indeed Abiy’s Oromo Democratic Party, have already started collaborating and putting together agreements ahead of the crucial 2020 vote. READ MORE: Ethiopia’s ruling Oromo bloc agrees ‘deal’ with opposition OLF

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