Ethiopia’s parliament has approved allowing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to stay in office beyond his mandate after elections planned for August were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The vote on Wednesday – 114 in favor, four against and one abstention – came two days after a leading opposition politician resigned as speaker in an apparent protest the decision to delay the election.
“The House of Federation has approved a decision to extend the term of all assemblies until international health institutions have deemed the threat from coronavirus to be over,” the Ethiopian News Agency reported on Wednesday, referring to the upper house of parliament.
Ethiopia’s election board announced in March that it would be impossible to organize the vote on time because of the pandemic, in which 2,506 infections have been confirmed in the country with 35 deaths.
Some opposition leaders have called for a caretaker or transitional government to guide the country to elections, a suggestion Abiy dismissed as unworkable during a question-and-answer session on Monday with legislators.