Electoral Board to Approve Funds for Parties Election Campaigns

by Zelalem

Tayitu 14th

The opposition criticized formula as beneficiary to EPRDF

The support to be granted to political parties for the purpose of election is going to be approved in a week’s time, according to Demise Benti, head of public relations at the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), despite criticisms by opposition parties.

The Electoral Board held talks with 60 political parties – of which 22 are nationwide political parties – on January 2, 2015 at the Ghion Hotel on the allocation of funds for the upcoming general election. The board had presented its proposed plan, which it said was based on the experiences of other countries, for the allocation of the support. The proposed plan will use three main requirements for the support, these include the number of seats in federal or state houses, the number of candidates nominated by the political parties and the number of women candidates nominated by the political parties, according to Demise.

Out of the total budget, 55pc will be given based on the number of seats in federal and state houses, 25pc on the number of candidates nominated by the political parties, 10pc will be allocated based on the number of women candidates nominated by the political parties and the rest will be distributed on the basis of equality, according to Demise.

The requirement that is based on number of women candidates nominated by the political parties is a great element that can be appreciated to support the participation of women in politics, stated Getaneh Balcha, research and strategy officer of Semayawi party.

On the other hand, the rest of the requirements had raised criticism. The plan is unfair and does not seem to consider the current Ethiopian political arena, which is dominated by one party, according to Tilahun Endeshaw, head of public relations of MEDREK. Especially to use the number of seats won in the preceding general election, which is already a done deal, as a criterion is unnecessary as what lies ahead is a new election, he added. This idea is shared by Semayawi party, which was represented by Getaneh.

“The method will only serve the incumbent government, which has won almost all seats in the previous general election,” stated Getaneh.

Getaneh stormed out of the meeting after he tried to express his party’s dissatisfaction on the general aspect of the NEBE procedures and conducts, which it believes are unjust and undemocratic.

In the 2010 general election,which was held for 547 seats in the House of Peoples’ Representatives in 547 Constituencies, 61 parties had participated. The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won 499 seats; where as the remaining 48 seats were filled by other parties including one seat by Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (Medrek). It won the single seat representing an electoral district in Addis Ababa.

The government grants support to political parties to be utilized for the election purpose for federal or state houses and for conducting their day-to-day activities, according to the Directives Concerning the Procedure to Determine the Apportionment Financial Support to Political Parties No. 5/2009. The support to be granted may be in the form of money, in kind and in service.

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