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Call for 'national salvation congress' in Ethiopia

Desta Gebremedhin

BBC Tigrinya Nairobi

State TV in Ethiopia's Tigray region has aired a call for a "national salvation congress" to be convened to facilitate the transition to an elected federal government as the country is "fast sliding into a one-man dictatorship".

The call was made by The Coalition of Ethiopian Federalist Forces. Most of the parties in the grouping are small, but it includes the ruling party in Tigray - the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which won regional elections last week by a landslide.

The elections were held in defiance of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government and the National Electoral Board, which postponed all polls until next year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Electoral officials sit as voters arrive at a polling station during Tigrays regional elections, in the town of Tikul, 15 kms east from Mekele, Ethiopia, on September 9, 2020.
Getty Images
The federal government said the Tigray elections were illegal

The TV station quoted the coalition as calling for the release of all political prisoners, a stop to the killing of civilians, the disbandment of all military command posts and the withdrawal of all foreign forces, especially Eritrean.

The TPLF believes that Mr Abiy does not have a mandate to govern beyond this month, but his allies dispute this, saying the federal parliament has endorsed the postponement of elections and the prime minister is allowed to remain in office for anther 12 months.

The TPLF was the dominant player in Ethiopia for almost 27 years but has been sidelined since Mr Abiy came to power.

Mr Abiy disbanded the EPRDF ruling coalition, which was accused of repression, and created a new party called the Prosperity Party - without the TPLF.

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