Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
Since 1995, Ethiopia has adopted a multiparty parliamentary system and a federal structure devolving power to nine regions and two city administrations. The Constitution established a bi-cameral parliamentary form of government with two houses. The framework of governance includes a system of political representation based on the holding of local (every 2.5 years) and nation-wide elections (every 5 years), and formation of a set of legislative institutions at all levels including, at the apex`, the two houses of the national parliament (the House of Peoples Representatives (HoPR) and the House of Federation (HoF).
Under the current constitution, the country held five general elections, the last being in May 2015. Among all elections, only the 2005 election was characterized by improved political space and competition between political parties. The opposition increased parliamentary seats from 2% to 33%. The election results however were highly contested and consequently violence erupted which claimed hundreds of lives. In the aftermath of the elections, the government enacted highly contested laws (such as the Charities and Societies proclamation, the Anti-Terrorism Law, the Media Law, the Electoral Law) that effectively shut-down the then already narrow political space. In the 2010 general election, EPRDF and its affiliates claimed 99% of parliamentary seats. In the 2015 general elections, the last in a row, EPRDF and allied parties claimed 100% of parliamentary seats.
Ethiopia has embarked on a path of reforms and political renewal. With the new leadership of Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the government has systematically invested in the opening of the political space and has lifted many of the restrictions that were placed on political participation. The most notable development was the lifting of ‘terror labels’ of several previously outlawed political parties. The return of opposition parties has enriched the political debate and has been a clear indication of the Government and the Ruling Coalition to engage in open and more inclusive political process. This is expected to have direct bearing on the upcoming general elections planned for 2020.
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has recently seen its leadership changed. Former Judge Birtukan Mideksa was appointed in November 2018 as the new Chairwoman of NEBE. The change of NEBE’s leadership reconfirmed the Government’s commitment to reform the institution and enhance its credibility within the political sphere but also among the general public. NEBE has faced reputational challenges and was heavily criticized for being biased and partial in conducting previous elections. Investment in the Board’s integrity, professionalism and effectiveness has been included in the policy priority areas that were captured in the ‘New Horizon of Hope’ document, issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) following the most recent Cabinet reshuffle.
In response to the request by the Government of Ethiopia and with the view to support the reforms and general elections, the United Nations has performed a Needs Assessment Mission (NAM), which confirms that conditions were favourable for the United Nations to design and activate an elections programme/project of support. UNDP supported the development of the ‘Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democratic Strengthening (SEEDS)’, which is currently in a soft launch phase and awaiting formal approval from the Government of Ethiopia.
UNDP intends to recruit a Project Manager to
Senior Elections Expert to provide advice and guidance to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) and to support the Country Office in the finalization of the anticipated electoral assistance project/programme. Under the overall authority and supervision of the UNDP Resident Representative and the Chairwoman of the Board, the Senior Elections Expert will be responsible for providing high level advisory services to NEBE and the Secretariat as NEBE prepares for the upcoming elections. S/he will work in close consultation with the UNDP Governance and Capacity Development Unit, the electoral management bodies and other stakeholders in order to promote approaches and tools ensuring a credible, fair, transparent and inclusive electoral process. UNDP supported the development of the ‘Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democratic Strengthening (SEEDS)’, which was launched in June 2019.
Duties and Responsibilities
Supervision and Coordination
In close coordination with the CTA and the UNDP CO operations team
Monitoring and Reporting
Required Skills and Experience:
Education: Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Political Sciences, Law, International Relations, Social Sciences, Public Administration or a related field. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.
Language Requirements: Proficiency in English