Ethiopia: Regime announces Parliament voted in favor of martial law; vote tally appears controversial

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (March 2, 2018)

Media controlled by the regime in Ethiopia have reported that the Parliament has passed the six-month state of emergency declared by the Council of Ministers on February 16, 2018.

There are, however, uncertain and different figures reported as to how many of the members of Parliament voted in favor of passing the martial law. Even the official Facebook of the House People’s Representatives had edited news of the passing of the state of emergency three times. The number of those who voted in favor was originally reported as being 346, which falls short of the required two-third of the total in the 547 seat Parliament. The tally was changed to 395 few minutes later.

According to the Parliament’s Facebook page, 88 members have voted against the passing of the decree and seven had abstained.

The ruling EPRDF coalition controls 100% of the seat in the rubber stamp Parliament. However, today’s 88 votes of rejections and 7 abstentions to the martial law are unprecedented and signal a crack in the coalition.

The state of emergency has faced criticism from the outset with allies of the regime including the United States saying they “strongly disagree” with the decree; and more freedom and an all inclusive dialogue, not restriction, would resolve the crisis in Ethiopia

U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson is travelling to Ethiopia amid political crisis in the East African country, considered an important ally against Islamic extremists in the region. Foreign Ministers of Russia and the United Arab Emirates will also visit Addis Ababa in the same week

Pressure has mounted against U.S. and other allies of the regime in Ethiopia as its security forces killed hundreds of protest demonstrators demanding political and economic fairness in a country which is solely controlled by the TPLF oligarchy.