Addis Abeba, March 03/2018 – According to Art. 93 (2) of the Ethiopian constitution the emergency decree should be “approved by a two-thirds majority vote of members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives.” This clause was invoked by the Speaker of the House, Abadula Gemeda, while presenting the final result of the vote.
Below is a direct translation of Abadula’s speech:
“Out of the members of parliament we have, eight are not available in their duty due to death and other reasons. The total number of members of parliament we have is therefore 539. Of these 539, according to the proclamation, two-third of it will be 339. The vote we have got in support of is 346; against is 88; and 7 have abstained.”
Several media outlets have went on a frenzy of editing the original stories; they not only corrected the 346 by 395, but also added in the corrected version of their stories the number of attendees as 490.
But this is problematic in two ways. One: It flies in the face of the figures announced by the speaker at the end of the vote: 346 for + 88 against + 7 abstain = 441.
Two: It opened debate on the counter constitutional working bylaws of the parliament which says, according to evening bulletin of the state media ebc, two third of the parliamentarians in attendance, not the total number of parliamentarians. In this case, where did the number 490, which is quoted by local and international media, come from?
Some have argued the speaker has mentioned the 490 attendees in his introduction remarks. If so, the media in attendance, the parliament itself and those who argued as such have the responsibility to present the evidence. Addis Standard was not invited to the event, as usual, but got this video submitted to it by a source who attended the session.
The parliament’s acting communication director, Yakob Woldesemayat, told The Reporter Amharic that there has been a “counting error”. No further explanation is given by the paper. AS