New Election Calendar Unveiled for Polls in Somali & Harari regions, Southwest referendum

ADDIS ABABA – The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) will hold voting on September 30 in areas where the 6th general elections were not held on June 21, due to logistical and security challenges.

The referendum of the South Western People of Ethiopia, in the SNNP region, will also be held on the same day, the board announced in a statement issued today.

The two polls were previously scheduled to take place on September 6, 2021.

The decision to push the schedule by at least three weeks came after a discussion between the officials of the NEBE and political parties who are running in the constituencies where polling was not held including Harari and Somali regional states on Monday.

During the meeting, Birtukan Midekssa, the Chairperson of the Board, presented NEBE’s activity report since the June 21 vote, which saw the ruling Prosperity Party win a majority of seats at the parliament to form a government.

Discussion with parties

The presentation included the provision of detailed information concerning the process of the upcoming election to be held in the constituencies where the General Election was not conducted due to security and current situation, the board’s statement says.

Some attending parties questioned the timeline of the proposed election schedule indicating “the security situation” in the country.

Others opposed the view stating that the June 21 vote took place in a similar scenario where there have been security concerns. An election can be held by identifying places where there is a relatively stable security situation, they added.

Participants also suggested for the Sept. 6 voting day to be readjusted saying the date set is close to the annual Meskal Holiday, according to Electoral Board.

The board’s decision

As per the discussion, the board passed two decisions regarding the poll.

It said the voting will be held on September 30, 2021 in Constituencies where the Election was not held on June 21, 2021.

Secondly, “polling will be conducted in Somali, Harari, and SNNP regions, and the referendum of the South Western People of Ethiopia will also be held on the same day,” the board added.

The board also said it has identified places convenient to hold the election after conducting an investigation.

NEBE will give additional information concerning the remaining constituencies where there won’t be polling, its statement reads.

The new poll calendar does not include an election in Tigray. Its officials previously stated that the date for a Tigray vote would be set once an interim government, which was established during the conflict, opened election offices.

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