ADDIS ABABA – The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced on Monday it has extended the deadline for candidate registration as well as period for voters’ registration.
The board initially planned to carry out candidates registration of parties competing in the 6th election between 15 and 28 February, 2021.
A slow progress in securing spaces to establish constituency offices has forced to delay the registration’s deadline for some regions last week.
The board said the necessary offices were not open to start candidate registration according to the electoral calendar in Afar, Amhara, Sidama, SNNP and Somali regions – forcing its officials to conduct candidates’ registration in two rounds.
On Monday, the NEBE said it has decided to extend the deadline again after a review on the progress has found more challenges.
“The Board reviewed the candidates’ registration process and extended the number of days in the regions where the registration of candidates started in the first round, by four days,” it said.
Lack of transportation to distribute election materials and time-consuming process of recruiting independent Constituency Officers are mentioned as major reason for the latest decision.
The Board is recruiting of independent poll workers with its officials currently vetting more than 140,000 polling station workers. This process has taken longer time than expected, it said.
The Board also understood that office preparation has been challenging in the regions where candidates’ registration started in the second round.
The extension of candidates’ registration caused by delayed support from some regions recent challenges and others, have created a knock-on effect on the remaining part of the election calendar.
To evaluate the impartiality of polling station workers better while resolving the remaining issues, it said “voters’ registration for the 6th general election will take place from March 25 to April 23, 2021”.
The board will provide more information regarding voters’ registration in the future, its officials said.
As per NEBE election calendar, Ethiopia will hold the 6th parliamentary election this year, on June 5, 2021.
The calendar for polls does not include an election in Tigray. The date for a Tigray vote would be set once an interim government, which was established during the conflict, opened election offices.