Electoral Board Passes Final Decision On Internal Opposition Party Disputes

Tayitu 14th Tayitu 14th

Loan opposition MP, Girma Seifu, goes down with losing UDJ faction

The one opposition voice that had been heard in the House of People’s Representatives in the past years might be making its last arguments as the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) just banned one of the two quarreling groups of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) to which Girma Seifu (MP) belongs.

Two parties, the UDJ and the All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP), have each been witnessing a fight to the death between two factions created in each. Belay Fekadu and Tigistu Awelu had been leading the two factions in the UDJ, each fighting for legitimacy from the NEBE. At AEUP Abebaw Mehari and Mamushet Amare were waging the same fight, leading their followers.

The NEBE had convened an emergency meeting on January 13, 2015, during which the parties were given a deadline until January 27, 2015, to resolve their internal problems. That did not happen and the NEBE declared today, Thursday, January 29, 2015, that Tigistu Awel’s and Abebaw Mehari’s groups were now legitimately considered as the UDJ and AEUP, respectively.

The NEBE accused the banned groups of not following procedures in electing presidents and not complying with the board’s rules and regulations. Merga Bekana (Prof.), chairman of the board, added that the groups that his board legitimized complied with the board’s rules and regulations and were ready to cooperate and solve problems, factors which he said led to their legitimization.

Belay Fikadu’s group at the UDJ included lone opposition MP Girma Seifu. The groups that have been banned from both parties will not be able to use the UDJ and AEUP appellations as per the board decision, which Merga said was final. Member from UDJ told Fortune that they are yet to convene and discuss the board’s decision.

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