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Major General Birhanu Jula

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Major General Birhanu Jula Second, the possible outcome of the Council’s decision in this matter will take an ill turn and inevitably result in an act of constitutional amendment-an act which is unconstitutional and a serious violation of the amendment clause that strictly requires the majority vote of “all state councils” to approve the amendment proposal as stipulated under article 105.

Even if we assume the matter presents a justifiable ground for constitutional interpretation, we believe the drafters of the constitution had envisioned a situation such as this to be resolved with a hybrid solution (constitutional and political) manner. This means, for all purposes and intents, the FDR House of Peoples Representatives had already been dissolved by the prime minster under art. 60(1) and a caretaker government had already been formed under article 60(5) of the Constitution. Therefore, we believe that the Council of Constitutional Inquiry should interpret the constitution in a manner that obliges the government to invite all political parties to reconstitute a government and ultimately co-conduct a post-COVID19 National Election

We strongly believe that neither the Council of the Constitutional Inquiry nor the House of Federation apparently possess any ground to offer unbinding advisory opinion at all times, nor interpretative grounds to justify any of its outcomes in this particular matter, whether that be allowing the unilateral postponement or not allowing the election.

It is imperative to note that the national election requires sensible and well-informed governmental decisions that are based on scientific data from specialize health authorities. The purpose of this is to preserve legal certainty, because elections are by nature rules-based exercises. There is no doubt that Ethiopia’s national election is plainly and unequivocally sanctioned by constitutional deadline under Article 54 (1) and 58 (2) (3).

Any engagement or decision from the Council of the Constitutional Inquiry or the House of Federation that possibly leads to the extension or postponement of the election and subsequently confers upon the government a unilateral national mandate to rule beyond the deadline, not only causes constitutional instability and ultimately affects the future credibility of the election itself (at some point down the line), but also dramatizes the unconstitutional capture of governmental power beyond its constitutionally terms and mandate.  We see it as nothing more or less than a unilateral political performance of the constitution and unconstitutional performance of the politics.

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