The electoral board says delays in the opening of polling stations and voter registration have pushed back the day of voting.
Ethiopia has postponed its national elections again after some opposition parties said they would not participate, and as a conflict in the country’s Tigray region means no vote will be held, complicating the efforts of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to centralize power.
Birtukan Mideksa, chairman of the Ethiopian National Electoral Board (NEBE), “indicated that delays in the opening of polling stations and voter registration have boosted voting day,” he said on Saturday. state news agency Fana.
Mideksa told Reuters news agency that the elections would not take place on June 5 as planned.
“It simply came to our notice then [know] as soon as how many additional weeks or days to complete the overdue tasks … No more than three weeks would pass, “he added.
Mideksa cited a large number of logistical delays, such as completing voter registration, training election staff, printing and distributing ballots.
“It was virtually impossible to deliver them on the initially scheduled dates,” he said.
With just a few weeks to go before the election, there had been little evidence of campaigning and several opposition parties planned to boycott the vote, describing it as a “farce”.
Voting was initially scheduled for August last year, but was postponed for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which ruled the northern region at the time, had resisted the postponement and held regional elections in September.
This was a factor that led to the conflict between the TPLF and the central government in Addis Ababa, which has been going on since early November.
The fighting in Tigray has killed thousands and led the United States to allege that an “ethnic cleansing” was being carried out against Tigrayans in the western part of the region, which is home to about six million.
The prime minister, who introduced profound political reforms after taking office in 2018 and won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year, has repeatedly promised that these elections would be free and fair.
Abiy will hold office if his prosperity party wins a majority of seats in the national assembly.