Denmark On board to Support Ethiopia’s Elections

ADDIS ABEBA – Denmark is releasing 10 million Danish Kroner or equivalent to 1.5 million US dollars to support a multi-partner election support project for Ethiopia, disclosed the UN Development Program (UNDP).

The UN agency said this after its Resident Representative to Ethiopia Turhan Saleh and Denmark’s Ambassador Karin Poulsen signed an agreement on Friday, December 13, 2019.

Ambassador Poulsen described the upcoming national election as “an essential part of the country´s stride towards a future of peace and prosperity”.

“Denmark is proud to join forces with UNDP and other international partners, in a multilateral effort to secure the best possible conditions for a free and fair result,” she said.

The latest agreement formalizes the pledge made by the Danish Government at the end of March 2019 during a visit to Ethiopia by the Minister for Development Cooperation.

Denmark is one of  10 development partners that have so far contributed to the 40 million dollars Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democracy Strengthening or SEEDS project.

The project will be implemented from 2019-2022 to help build the capacity of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) in three key areas.

Providing operational support to enhance the conduct of transparent, efficient and inclusive elections is on the top of the three.

The project will also support NEBE to develop capacities to conduct public outreach and external communication activities as well as identify, manage and respond to electoral violence.

Ethiopia has regularly held elections since 1995, but with the exception of the 2005 election, no election has been competitive.

In the 2005 poll, riots erupted after the opposition cried foul, security forces killed nearly 200 protesters, and the government jailed many opposition politicians.

This time, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April 2018, repeatedly asserted the election would free and fair.

Image Caption: Left to right: Turhan Saleh, UNDP Resident Representative and Ambassador Karin Poulsen of Denmark in Ethiopia. Photo UNDP