Addis Ababa, December 2/2020(ENA) Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has reiterated the government’s unwavering efforts to make the 2021 elections free and fair, according to Office of the Prime Minister.
Abiy on Wednesday met with political parties and civil society organizations (CSOs) to discuss about the upcoming general elections scheduled for mid-2021.
According to a statement from Office of the Prime Minister, the discussion was held in the presence of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).
The deliberations saw presentation on the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders and an outline of electoral systems.
On the occasion, participants raised several issues including not rushing to elections without putting the necessary foundations in place, creating an enabling environment, and ensuring the primacy of rule of law preceding the elections, the statement noted.
Moreover, placement of an election code of conduct for stakeholders including election observers, stocktaking of legitimate political parties and engagement of political parties according to the ‘rules of the game’ were also among the issues raised.
Responding to questions and issues raised by participants to the discussion, Prime Minister Abiy stressed the need to be principled in the elections discourse by all parties as there is consistent switching of positions on holding elections, by flagging many excuses on why the environment is not conducive.
Abiy emphasized that elections are among the critical foundations of democratization processes and that waiting for the perfect environment and prerequisites demanded to be in place would only forestall elections further.
He reiterated that as a democratic practice, it is important to undertake elections while in parallel working to address imperfections along the way.
Highlighting the significance of fighting corruption within all political parties, including the ruling party, he confirmed that pre-election problem solving mechanisms have been discussed, planned upon and will be rolled out by the government to enable a conducive environment for all competing parties.
Abiy encouraged the formation of a committee to be chaired by NEBE and comprising key political party representatives with the task of flagging to the government any problems party’s encounter for remedial action.
The Primier also confirmed the development of an election code of conduct by Prosperity Party (PP) in addition to that of NEBE, which the ruling party will be governed by.
The purpose of PP’s own code of conduct is to ensure that all its members enable free and fair elections, as a commitment to laying the foundation and templates for democratic elections in Ethiopia, he stated.
Prime Minister Abiy restated that the efforts of the Federal Government to make the 2021 elections free and fair. “I shared the federal government’s unwavering efforts to lay the foundation for free & fair elections,” he said.
The highly anticipated and historic election, which will be held following the reforms of critical democratic institutions in Ethiopia over the past two and half years, is noted as the most consequential election in its demonstration of Ethiopia’s democratization journey initiated in 2018, it was indicated.