Ethiopia’s Parliament plans to explore the country’s constitution to establish how to avert a crisis caused by delayed elections.
The East African country was scheduled to hold elections in August but the government postponed it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The term of the current government headed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expires on October 10, and it is unclear what would happen beyond the date should elections not be held.
State-run Fana Broadcasting Corp reports that lawmakers voted on Tuesday to have the upper chamber of parliament, known as the House of the Federation, provide an interpretation of the constitution on the matter.
“The absence of constitutional provisions for extending a government’s term, combined with the fact that both parliamentary chambers are overwhelmingly ruling party-controlled, means there are fertile grounds for the opposition to question the government’s legitimacy, which could breed more instability,” Bloomberg quotes Wiliam Davison, an analyst from the International Crisis Group.
The August elections were to be the first under Abiy’s program of fostering multiparty democracy.
On Monday, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which has broken away from the ruling party, accused the ruling party of “unconstitutionally” using the COVID-19 pandemic as “a good opportunity to establish a one man authoritarian rule,” according to a statement on its Facebook page.
Ethiopia is one of 52 African countries that have reported cases of COVID-19, having registered 145 infections and four fatalities.