by Awol Kassim Allo
If only 346 MPs voted in favor of the emergency proclamation, then, there is no state of emergency in Ethiopia, since that vote took place. Here is why: according to the Constitution in whose defense this emergency is imposed, a state of emergency declared by the Council of Ministers should be repealed forthwith unless approved by a two-thirds vote of all MPs. Note that the constitutional requirement is not two-thirds of the votes present and voting. It is two-thirds of the votes of all MPs. The requirement set forth under article 59 (1) does not apply to the state of emergency – an extraordinary situation governed specifically by article 93. Please also note that the Amharic version of Article 59 (1), which is the controlling version in case there is a conflict, does not make any distinction between ‘members present and voting’ and ‘.members voting’
Given this discrepancy between the Amharic version and the English version of article 59 (1), one could conclude with absolute certainty that Article 93 requires the vote of two-thirds of all the 547 MPs, not a vote by two-thirds of members present and voting. Hence this state of emergency requires a vote of 365 to pass. With 346 votes, parliament is clearly expressing its intent to reject it.
If the report that only 346 MPs voted in favor is accurate, then, there is no state of emergency in Ethiopia.