ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian parliament is expected to okay the election board’s decision to postpone the national election which was initially scheduled for August.
Last month, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced its decision that it would be impossible to hold the election in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak, a move endorsed by some key opposition parties.
Members of Parliament will now “vote on the board’s resolution to postpone the election,” the parliament said in a statement that features tomorrow’s session.
“They will also discuss another resolution” what to do next regarding the election and will direct it to the respective committee of the parliament for further discussion, it added.
The election had been regarded as an important test of the reformist agenda of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in what was once one of the continent’s most repressive nations.
“Due to the pandemic we were forced to suspend our activities,” said NEBE on March 31, adding that it will announce a new timeline once the pandemic has subsided.
The Horn of Africa nation has 130 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far.
Previous elections in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation with 105 million citizens, have been marred by allegations of rigging and intimidation.
Abiy has promised to hold free and fair elections. But his party is expected to face a stiff challenge from many newly resurgent regional, ethnically based parties.