ENA May 19/2020 Respected lawyers who participated in the second round public discussion for constitutional interpretation said interpreting the constitution is the only way that solves the present crisis without violating human and democratic rights of citizens.
Human Rights Expert at the United Nations, Meseret Geset said constitutional efficiency and balancing exercise must be at the center when such kind of problems arise.
Many countries have different responses to constitutional crisis, depending on their economic performances and election schedules, she added.
Some prefer constitutional interpretation and others prepare legal framework to find alternative ways to the postponement of election.
Professor Alemayehu Gebremariam of California State University said undertaking public hearing when faced with such a problem is historical which can also be replicated in other African countries.
According to him, taking the interest of the public and current situation in the country into account the constitution can be interpreted.
Citing the US Constitution as an example, he noted that the supreme court has been giving life to the country’s constitution by interpreting vague phrases and words in the constitution many times.
The current government may continue to fill the power vacuum till the situation is contained and a constitutionally and electorally mandated government comes to power, Professor Alemayehu stressed.
Chernet Hordofa, a legal expert, said on his part conducting election at this stage is impossible due to the state of emergency.
In addition to curbing the current situation to normalcy, the government has a mandate of ensure peace and security first, he stated.
Chernet further noted that reasonable time is needed to enable all the parties make preparations and campaign in order to conduct the election. Otherwise the whole thing would be a futile exercise.
Therefore, it is important to find a constitutional solution that solves the current problem through constitutional interpretation, he underscored.
Federal Supreme Court President and Constitutional Inquiry Board Chairperson Meaza Ashenafi chaired the public hearing held late yesterday afternoon.
The Ethiopian Constitution stipulates that the term of office for a government in Ethiopia is five years. Accordingly, the incumbent’s constitutional mandate will come to an end on 10 October 2020.
However, because of the outbreak of corona virus and to protect the sovereignty of the country the government was forced to declare a state of emergency, and the parliament postponed the 6th General Election scheduled to be held on August 29, 2020.