ADDIS ABABA – The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) on Monday said it has decided to register voters in some areas where it is conducting a referendum to decide on the formation of a new federal state.
The decision came days after it reported irregularities in the voters’ registration process carried out in 27 polling stations located in Gofa and Wolaita Zones.
Gofa and Wolaita are among the five zones and five special districts where residents will cast their votes next month on whether to create an autonomous federal region. These areas are currently under the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) administration.
The first week of the ‘ registration, which started Dec 20 in 3753 polling stations, saw more than 1.77 million people registered to vote.
In the same week, the board was forced to stop the registration process in some areas of Gofa and Wolaita after its operation monitoring team found various irregularities.
The board, after replacing the entire staff of the 27 polling stations and directing their case to federal police for further investigation, announces a new five-day voters’ registration period in the 27 stations, starting Wednesday, January 4.
Residents, including those previously registered, need to take their voters card after registering in the new calendar.
The board also says it will monitor the registration process in stations, stating that it will cancel the registration completely if similar irregularities occur again.
The two weeks period set aside for voters’ registration concluded on Sunday.
However, the board previously said it will extend the registration period to enable internally displaced people in one zone and three special districts.
7 special polling stations set up inside IDP centers are currently registering voters to partake in the referendum that decides on the creation of the 12th state in Ethiopia.
NEBE’s referendum calendar has set February 6, 2023, as the voting date for the referendum.
Preliminary results will be revealed at the polling stations for five consecutive days starting from Feb 7, 2023. The board will disclose the final result on February 15, as per its calendar.