After the key note speech of Dr. Getahun Kassa ( NEBE Board member and Democratic Institutions Working Group member) and discussion contributions by Dr. Getachew Assefa (Chair of Democratic Institutions Working Group), Mr. Musa Adem (Chair of Political Parties Council), Ms. Blen Asrat (Consortium of CSOs for Election) and Ms. Saba Gebremedhin (Director, Network of Ethiopian Women Associations), the Panelists discussed on roles of the Proclamation and the various stakeholders in Election 2020 and other related issues like law enforcement and security challenges.
The discussants stressed that for NEBE to operate effectively, the role of the government, political parties, CSOs, media, academics, opinion makers and democratic institutions is very essential. While noting that the current reform process is mainly initiated by the government, some warned that unless other stakeholders are active on their highly demanded engagement, the government might be tempted to abuse the election process to its advantage. Hence, it was the consensus of the participants that Ethiopia needs to address the challenges carefully and thoroughly to ensure that a free, fair, credible, and peaceful national election would be conducted in 2020. The importance of building a strong and independent election management body, active public participation, agreement on ethical and democratic principles, designing conflict resolution mechanisms, continued dialogue among relevant stakeholders, and international assistance were some of the issues discussed on the forum.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is grateful to all participants and the vivid discussion and is looking forward to follow-up on the contributions that were made.