A political party representing some of Ethiopia’s ethnic Sidama people said on Thursday it would postpone plans to declare a new region in defiance of the federal government and would accept the offer of a referendum in five months’ time. The plans would be a direct challenge to the federal government and could encourage eight other ethnic groups to make similar demands. “Now the most important thing is peace for our people,” Million Tumato, president of the Sidama Liberation Movement Party, told Reuters. “Still the five months timeline is not specific as it doesn’t indicate when the referendum will take place.” Earlier on Thursday protesters in the Ethiopian city of Hawassa had blocked roads and burned tires after security forces thwarted a meeting of activists to declare a new region for their Sidama ethnic group, witnesses said. The declaration would have been a test of whether Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal government can stick to its commitment to peaceful political reforms amid increasing demands from competing ethno-nationalist groups. Another official from the SLM blamed the national electoral board for the protests in Hawassa. “It tested the people’s patience. We could have avoided this situation had they acted one week ago,” said Dukale Lamiso, chairman of the Sidama Liberation Movement. “Nonetheless, we accept the timeline and we are ready to cooperate.” Hawassa is the capital of the multi-ethnic Southern Nations region but some Sidama – who make up the largest group there – want it as the capital of their own
Scotland’s pro-independence government has set out new rules on referendums in the hope of holding another secession vote in the second half of 2020 if Britain’s parliament gives the go-ahead. A bill presented to the devolved Scottish parliament on Wednesday aims to give clear ground rules that are legally watertight for any referendum vote. In 2014, Scots rejected leaving their 300-year-old union with England and Wales by 55 to 45%. Polls say support for independence has grown since, but a majority still back the current UK political structure. Results from last week’s European election, in which Nicola Sturgeon’s pro-EU Scottish National Party (SNP) increased its share of the vote to take three of six EU parliament seats assigned to Scotland, appear to have strengthened Sturgeon’s hand and show the antipathy to Brexit north of the English border. Sturgeon’s government wants to give visibility and purpose to the discontent in Scotland over Britain’s exit from the European Union. That puts extra pressure on a UK government and parliament riven by political acrimony and unable to decide the shape of Brexit. “Just published a bill to set the rules for an independence referendum – to allow the Scottish people to choose our own future rather than having a Brexit future imposed on us,” Nicola Sturgeon tweeted. The bill prepares for a secession vote which the UK government says it will not allow. That position is untenable, Sturgeon argues. “It is essential the UK government recognises that it would be a democratic outrage
When Britain voted to leave the European Union, few voters outside Northern Ireland thought about what it would mean for the British province. Three years on, Northern Ireland is inching closer to holding a referendum of its own — on reunification with Ireland. A united Ireland, and Northern Ireland’s withdrawal from the United Kingdom, remain distant prospects, and a unity referendum may not happen soon. But, as an unexpected consequence of Brexit, the political landscape is shifting. The two largest parties in the Irish republic, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, both of whom ultimately favour a united Ireland, have expanded their political networks north of the border to position themselves for a possible “unity vote”. Fine Gael, Ireland’s governing party, has also taken the unusual step of selecting one-time Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan as a candidate to run in the Dublin constituency in this week’s European elections. “The unity debate has gained legs in the context of Brexit,” Durkan, a former leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), one of Northern Ireland’s two main pro-unity parties, told Reuters while campaigning in the Irish capital. In the 2016 Brexit referendum, nearly 56% of voters in Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU but the province will leave when the rest as Britain departs — on a date that has not yet been set. Ireland, which won independence from Britain a century ago and joined the EU in 1973, will remain in the bloc as its
The First Minister is to open her party’s conference by saying the people of Scotland deserve better than Westminster chaos. The “shambles of Brexit” has strengthened the case for Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon has declared as the SNP Conference opens in Glasgow.
“The shambles of Brexit makes the case for independence more compelling than ever – with Westminster ignoring Scotland’s voice and interests and undermining devolution with a power grab on the Scottish Parliament.”
Some Coalition campaign posters urged people to vote “Yes” to defend family values or run the risk of gay couples stealing or adopting their children. A separate advert said a “No” vote would enable a man to marry a tree.
“Many fear that what has happened in other countries, such as legalizing marriage between a man and an animal, could happen here,” the leader of the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea, told television station Romania TV.
In July, Spain’s Supreme Court effectively stripped Carles Puigdemont and the other separatist politicians of their public duties due to their role in organising an independence referendum on Oct 1, 2017. Opinion polls in Catalonia show a relatively even split between those who favour remaining in Spain and those wanting to secede.