Tigray region holds regional elections despite ban
Contrary to the Ethiopian government’s decision to postpone the national and regional elections originally scheduled for August due to the corona pandemic, Ethiopia’s northern province of Tigray held its regional elections on Wednesday. According to the regional electoral authority, 97 percent of voters cast their votes for the 190 seats of the regional parliament, and the results are expected this weekend. Prime Minister Abiy had previously classified the election as illegal and parliament also declared it null and void on Saturday. Tigray’s provincial government, on the other hand, still considers a postponement of the elections to be unconstitutional, arguing that from October Abiy would no longer enjoy legitimacy for his function as prime minister. It accuses the Nobel Peace Prize winner of illegitimately seeking to extend his term of office. Although only five percent of Ethiopia’s population live in Tigray province, the regional government is provided by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which for a long time was the only party in the region and dominated the country’s national politics before Prime Minister Abiy’s reform course. In the current election, despite the challenge of Abiy’s Prosperity Party and the new Tigray Independence Party, a majority for the TPLF is expected in the Tigray Parliament. Against this background, the election adds to the already tense political situation in the country. What consequences Abiy will draw from the election remains to be seen. Although he ruled out military intervention, it remains unclear to what extent the conduct of the vote could lead to punitive measures.
Guinea Alpha Condé seeks third term
Since Tuesday it has been clear that twelve people are standing as candidates in the forthcoming presidential elections in Guinea on 18 October, which are taking place amidst political tensions. The 82-year-old President Alpha Condé is nearing the end of his second and constitutionally last five-year term. This year, however, in a controversial referendum, he pushed through a new constitution, which the opposition and civil society had long feared was intended solely to reset the counters for the President’s term. Last week, Condé finally put an end to months of speculation and confirmed his candidacy for a third term in office despite violent protests. The Front National pour la Défense de la Constitution (FNDC) – an umbrella organisation of parties, trade unions and civil society groups – condemned Condé’s actions as a constitutional coup. At a meeting on Wednesday, however, the group was unable to agree on a unified boycott of the elections. Former Prime Minister and leader of the main opposition party, the Union des forces démocratiques de Guinée (UFDG), Cellou Dalein Diallo, decided to continue running for office after boycotting the March constitutional referendum. Diallo has already run against Condé in 2010 and 2015. In the last election, he lost the first round of voting. Since then, the sentiment in the country, which is rich in natural resources but characterised by a history of instability, has changed dramatically. When Condé became the first democratically elected President of Guinea in 2010, hope for a new political dawn was arising. Meanwhile, critics accuse Condé of an increasingly authoritarian style of leadership. Protests against his presumed re-election plan already broke out in October last year, but were ruthlessly suppressed, killing several dozen people.
In other news
From 7 to 10 September, the fourth Africa Animal Welfare Conference was held under the motto “Animal Welfare, Wildlife and Environmental Protection for Sustainable Development in Africa”. The event was jointly organised by the Africa Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources, the Africa Network for Animal Welfare and the United Nations Environment Programme. Numerous representatives of various economic organisations, animal welfare and environmental protection associations took part in the event. The aim of the conference was to promote the dialogue between stakeholders and thus to create a prosperous Africa based on sustainable development. This includes strengthening sustainable and climate-resistant communities as well as, for example, modernising agriculture.