TPLF given chance to re-enter Ethiopian political arena

In a significant political development, the Ethiopian parliament on Tuesday passed legislation allowing the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which was previously banned for waging war against the federal government, to re-register with the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).

The amended law, officially titled the “Electoral, Political Parties Registration, and Electoral Ethics Proclamation,” was approved by a majority of the 547-member House of Peoples’ Representatives, with two members voting against it and one abstaining.

The amendment includes provisions that allow political parties accused of “violently and illegally operating” to register under “special conditions.”

During the parliamentary session, government representative Tesfaye Belejge stressed that the amendment would “enable forces that previously sought power through armed struggle to pursue a legal and peaceful alternative.”

Belejge also highlighted that this reform is a crucial step towards sustaining peace in the country.

On Friday, Getachew Reda, the interim president of Tigray regional state, applauded the federal government after the country’s Council of Ministers endorsed the amended bill and sent it for approval to the legislative body.

“The resolution of the Council of Ministers is one step in the right direction in consolidating peace,” he said on X.

The new legal framework stipulates the requirements that political parties must meet in order to gain legal recognition, as well as the Election Board’s role in this process.

Following parliament’s designation of the TPLF as a terrorist organization during the northern war in 2021, the NEBE revoked its registration and legal recognition.

However, after the Pretoria agreement and the conflict’s end in late 2022, lawmakers rescinded the terrorist label.

Earlier in 2023, former NEBE head Birtukan Mideksa turned down the TPLF’s request to register as a political party, citing a lack of legal provisions for relicensing a debarred party.

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