Dispute Over Ethiopia Emergency Vote

Abadula Gemeda, Speaker of the Parliament, during the state of emergency vote on March 2, 2018. Abadula was captured on camera announcing that there were 346 yes votes cast for the state of emergency, which is below the required two-thirds number. But Ethiopian TV reported that 395 MPs had supported the proposal. Now the ruling party claims Abadula made a mistake, while the opposition allege vote fraud. Below is an update from Reuters. (Photo: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)


By Aaron Maasho

Dispute Over Ethiopia Emergency Rule Vote After Footage Posted Online

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Footage of an Ethiopian parliamentary session posted online on Saturday appeared to contradict official reports of the number of votes cast to validate the state of emergency, though government officials dismissed the discrepancy as a mistake.

On Friday, the House of People’s Representatives held an emergency session on state of emergency legislation imposed on Feb. 16, a day after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise resignation.

The state-run Ethiopian News Agency said on Friday that 395 lawmakers voted in favour of the bill, putting the government comfortably within the two-thirds majority needed to validate the state of emergency, which bans demonstrations and restricts publications that could incite violence.

But footage made public by the privately-owned Addis Standard news website showed parliamentary speaker Abadula Gemeda stating at the end of the session that 346 parliamentarians had voted in favour.

Abadula also appeared to have made a mathematical mistake, saying 339 was the required two-thirds of 539 seats.

In fact, a vote of 346 would be below the threshold needed if the two-thirds rule applied to the total number of seats, rather than the number of parliamentarians present. It was not clear from the constitution how the two-thirds rule was meant to be applied.

The discrepancies sparked claims of vote fraud from the opposition.

Read more »

Watch: Did Ethiopian Parliament rig state of emergency vote? (Addis Standard)

Tillerson Heads to Addis, Ethiopia Doubles Down on Emergency Law: Media Round up
Under a new state of emergency, Ethiopia is on the brink of crisis, again (The Washington Post)
Ethiopia: Social Media, Diaspora & State of Emergency Press Roundup

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