Anti-Defection Laws in Ethiopia: Is There Any Constitutional Room?
Keywords:Anti-Defection Laws, Constitutional Law, Parliamentary Defection
Anti-defection laws are laws by which members of parliaments (MPs) who changed their party affiliation or voted against the position of their political faction or independent MPs who joined a political party are forced to vacate their parliamentary seat or prohibited from nomination as candidates of another political party in the next election. The essence of anti-defection laws is restricting political party members’ freedom to change their party affiliation to prevent government parties’ loss of majority in the parliament. Anti-defection laws are not uniformly used. While many established democracies see parliamentary defection as a manifestation of democracy, other jurisdictions with undeveloped democracies have outlawed defection. In Ethiopia, the FDRE Constitution entitles MPs to be led by the Constitution itself, peoples’ will, and their conscience, not necessarily by their party line. Accordingly, MPs can opine and vote contrary to the views of the political party of their membership in parliamentary debates; they can even change their party affiliation without risk of losing their parliamentary mandate. This makes Ethiopia one of the countries without anti-defection laws.
Csaba Nikolenyi (2011), Constitutional Sources of Party Cohesion: Anti-Defection Laws Around the World, (Paper prepared for delivery at the Oslo-Rome Workshop on Democracy, November 7-9, 2011).
Electoral Law of Ethiopia Amendment Proclamation No. 532/2007, Fed. Neg. Gazzeta, Year 13, No. 54.
G. Viswanathan v The Hon'ble Speaker Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, Madras  INSC 132 (24 January 1996).
Gebru Asrat, Sovereignty and Democracy in Ethiopia (in Amharic)(2015).
Henry Tadap Okole, A Critical Review of Papua New Guinea’s Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates: 2001-2010 (Australian National University, SSGM Discussion Paper 2012/5).
Israel's Constitution (Basic Law: The Knesset) of 1958 (with Amendments through 2013).
Kartic Khanna & Dhvana Shah. (2012). Anti-Defection Law: A Death Kneel to Parliamentary Dissent? 5 Nujs Law Review 103 (January-March, 2012)
Kenneth Janda. (2009). Laws Against Party Switching, Defecting, or Floor-Crossing in National Parliaments, (The Legal Regulation of Political Parties Working Paper 2).
Leake Mekonen Tesfay. (2018). The Freedom to Withdraw From Political Party Membership under the Ethiopian Law: A Case Comment, Haramaya Law Review, Vol. 7.
Leake Mekonen Tesfay. (2017). The Right to Political Party Membership in Ethiopia: On the Freedom to Join and Resign, Mizan Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 2.
Marc Van der Hulst. (2000). The Parliamentary Mandate: A Global Comparative Study (Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union).
Martin Goeke & Christof Hartmann. (2011). The regulation of party switching in Africa, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 29:3.
Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates 2003, Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Certified on 15/10/2003.
Proclamation to make the Electoral Law of Ethiopia Conform with the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, No. 11/1995.
Saurabh Sotwal & Tanmay Agrawal. (2014). Anti Defection Laws in India, International Journal of Research and Analysis, Vol., 1, Issue 3.
Seeye Abraha. (2010). Freedom and Justice in Ethiopia (in Amharic)(Signature Book Printing).
The Ethiopian Electoral, Political Parties Registration and Election’s Code of Conduct Proclamation No. 1162/2019, Fed. Neg. Gazzetta, 25th Year, No. 97.
United Nations, Division for Public Administration and Department of Management (DPADM) Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) (March 2004), Independent State of Papua New Guinea: Public Administration Country Profile.
Unity for Justice and Democracy Party v Blue Party, (Federal Supreme Court: Federal Supreme Court Cassation Decisions, Vol. 18, 421-435, File No. 112091 (06 May 2015).
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Leake Mekonen Tesfay
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.