Oromo Federalist Congress party alleges government repression. Only Fifteen Opposition Political Parties have registered Candidates
Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), one of the main ethnic Oromo Nationalist political Organizations, announced that it will not take part in the 6th general election in Ethiopia which is scheduled to take place in May this year.
The party’s decision, according to Tiruneh Gemta who is head of the party’s office, is informed by the situation that its members entrusted in coordinating the election are detained.
Furthermore, the party claimed many of its offices – across the Oromo region of Ethiopia – are closed, as reported by Voice of America Amharic Service. So far, no single candidate of the party is registered in any of the electoral districts.
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia extended candidates’ registration until Thursday this week. So far fifteen political parties have reportedly registered their candidates, according to the board.
Oromo Federalist Congress has released a statement on Tuesday. It called for the released members that the party allege are arrested. It also called for reopening of offices.
The ruling Prosperity Party did not react to the allegations of repression against OFC party members. However, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia advised the ruling party to abandon the customary practices of arresting opposition party candidates.
In a consultative meeting with the opposition parties, which took place on Wednesday in the capital Addis Ababa, Bertukan Mideksa, Chairperson, said the ruling party needs to stop arresting candidates.
The number of opposition candidates arrested, on what grounds they are arrested and the locations of their detention is undisclosed
According to the report by VOA Amharic, the party called for support from the diplomatic community. It was cited as saying “the party will stand for the peaceful struggle until the creation of Ethiopia that is appealing for all its citizens and called for appropriate support from members of the diplomatic community that are working on creating a stable country.”
Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a radical ethnic Oromo Nationalist Party, has been making similar accusations regarding harassment of its members by the ruling party. The party is yet to announce if it is not taking part in the election.
The sixth general election was scheduled to take place in August 2020 but was postponed following a recommendation from a constitutional inquiry committee due to the coronavirus situation in the country. The inquiry committee was assigned after the National Electoral Board advised the parliament that it cannot carry out election related activities under state of emergency introduced to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease in the country.
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