Ethiopia’s Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), which ruled the country for three decades until 2018, has vowed to hold its own regional vote, an action the national government said would violate the constitution. The TPLF made its declaration after the government delayed this year’s national election, citing the coronavirus pandemic. The standoff is increasing the risk of conflict, with the Tigray region holding military parades and refusing to back down.
Just weeks after more than 230 people were killed following the assassination of singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa, a hero to young Ethiopians calling for reform, another potential flashpoint is emerging in Africa’s second most populous country.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which last year decided to split from the ruling party coalition led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, accuses the government of grabbing power by delaying the national election indefinitely. The government says it would be irresponsible to hold an election while the coronavirus pandemic gathers pace.
The dispute has created a legal quagmire, with both sides accusing each other of defying the law. While the government and national parliament have said it is illegal to conduct any vote without the involvement of the national election board, the Tigray region has relied on constitutional articles providing it with rights of self-determination. Read more here.