ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s House of people’s representative has passed on Tuesday a motion that allows National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to restart preparation for national elections.
Ethiopia postponed its sixth parliamentary election twice – due to internal conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The motion to hold the election this year was forwarded to the parliament by parliament Women, Youth, Social Affairs and Legal, Justice, and Democratic Affairs Standing Committees during the fifth emergency session on Tuesday.
The lawmakers have endorsed the motion which asks for the election to go ahead with election preparation with a majority vote.
Eight parliamentarians voted for abstention.
Tuesday’s resolution has urged the electoral board to put in place all the necessary COVID-19 guidelines when conducting the voting process – echoing health minister Lia Kebede’s speech made to the parliament last week.
She said the country could now hold the parliamentary election provided all the necessary precautions are put in place against the spread of the coronavirus.
Although some members of parliament have raised their concern over the lack of detailed proceeding of voting preparation on the resolution, the chairperson the youth standing committee Abeba Yosef said there will be further deliberations on the issue.
In May, NEBE presented a scenario to hold polls that took the current pandemic into context.
This scenario requires preparing more polling stations for voters and recruiting 10, 000 additional election conductors to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.
It may also require involving health professionals and Ministry of health which are seldom key in holding elections, according to the Board’s officials.
These additional activities could increase the board’s spending by $73mln, according to NEBE’s estimate. The board’s budget to hold the sixth parliamentary election is $132 million.