ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian lawmakers have ruled that federal officials should cut ties with leaders in the northern Tigray region who defied Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last month by holding elections his government considered “illegal.”
The decision, announced late on Tuesday by the House of Federation, the upper house of parliament, promotes the collapse of relations between Abiy and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated Ethiopian politics before Abiy came to power in 2018 and is still under command. and Tigray.
The House of Federation “decided that the federal government should suspend all relations with the Tigray Regional State Assembly and the region’s highest executive body,” according to a statement issued by the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.
The statement noted that the federal government would continue to work with local institutions in Tigray to provide “basic services” to the region, meaning the decision did not amount to a complete breach.
The TPLF waged the armed struggle to overthrow the brutal Derg regime in 1991 and controlled the ruling coalition that took over.
But since Abiy took office, Tigrayan leaders have complained of being unfairly targeted at corruption persecution, removed from top positions and widely atoned for the country’s misery.
Ethiopia was due to hold national elections in August, but the country’s polling station decided in March that all voting should be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tigray continued his own optional election to his regional parliament on Sept. 9, with the TPLF securing 189 out of 190 seats.
While dismissing the Tigray vote as a “small choice,” Abiy ruled out dramatic retaliatory measures such as a military intervention or cutting off Tigray’s funding.
Tigrayan leaders have rejected the extension of political mandates – which were due to expire this week – where Abiy is no longer a legitimate ruler.
They have promised to recall representatives at the federal level, saying that any decision made by Abiy’s government in the future “will not be applicable” in Tigray.