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News: Tigray interim admin, TPLF say election board decision unacceptable legally, politically; caution it endangers existence of interim admin, renders peace process ownerless

Logos: Tigray regional state interim administration and TPLF

Addis Abeba – Tigray’s Interim Regional Administration (IRA), and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rejected a decision last week by National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) declining to reinstate TPLF’s registration as a political party.

The IRA said the decision “endangers the existence of the inclusive interim administration” in the region and “hinders the entire peace process,” signed between the federal government and the TPLF, which paved ways for the establishment of the interim administration. It also said the decision to stop the existence of the TPLF, “the main owner of the peace agreement” is unacceptable by law and in politics.

TPLF echoed a similar response and said the decision by the Board is “unacceptable”, based on the agreement reached in Pretoria and the law.

NEBE’s decision last week stated that “even though the armed violence that was the reason for the board’s decision… no longer exists, there are no provisions in Proclamation number 1162/2019 to restore the legal personality to the party.” It also rejected TPLF’s request to remove its decision denying TPLF’s officials legal status and to restore the party’s properties citing lack of provision in the electoral law.

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.

Tigray’s interim administration, which constitutes Tigrayan forces, civil society and an opposition party, cautioned that such decision by the Board “renders the peace agreement meaningless,” and “denies the recognition of the senior leaders of the TPLF, who are participating in the inclusive interim administration on behalf of the TPLF.”

Similarly, the TPLF, one of the oldest political parties in Ethiopia, said the decision “will not be accepted by the party”, adding that it will discuss it with the relevant stakeholders.

NEBE’s decision to reject TPLF a legal status of registration came despite a decision by the House of Peoples Representatives (HoPR) to de-list the terrorist designation of the TPLF. 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.”

In their statements released last night, both the IRA and TPLF have requested the Board to correct its decision based on the Pretoria Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the federal government and the TPLF and the decisions passed by other federal institutions.

“The agreement has been recognized internationally and nationally. The African Union, IGAD, the United Nations, the European Union, and the governments of various countries have given their recognition and support,” TPLF further said, agreement is “fundamentally centered on peace, human rights, democracy, accountability and a return to constitutional order.”

Considering the “unnecessary pressure” the Board’s decision puts on the federal government and on the positive efforts of peace and cooperation advanced so far, as well as the “federal government’s responsibility to ensure that legal decisions and agreements are respected by all government institutions and bodies,” the board’s decision must be re-examined, the TPLF said; it called on the issues that arise to be resolved “using the available legal and political options in a straightforward manner that will return the party it is “pre-war status, to fully implement the Pretoria Agreement and to strengthen the peace efforts that have been initiated.” AS

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