January 15, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The Nation Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has tentatively set the upcoming national elections for August 16, 2020.
Speaking to reporters, the Chair of the Board, Birtukan Mideksa, said the tentative election date is set to Sunday, August 16, 2020. Election result for regions will be disclosed between August 17 and August 21, according to the board chair.
The NEBE will officially disclose regional election maps on March 3, 2020.
Voter registration will take place from April 7 to May 7, 2020, it was indicated. The board also disclosed that the election campaign will take place from May 5 to August 11, 2020, and no campaign will be allowed between August 12 and August 15, 2020.
Some people are already complaining that the elections are set in the middle of the rainy season, which they claim may affect especially rural areas. It is unknown if the timing will be subject to negotiations between the various political parties.
Birtukan Mideksa also said that the NEBE is deliberating on the draft electoral schedule with political parties, civil societies, and other stakeholders in Addis Ababa.
The original schedule for holding the national elections was for May 2020. However, little preparation was done, due to stability and security issues. In March 2019, the election board canceled the planned census operations for the second time due to security concerns.
Ethiopia elects the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of Federation every five years. The last time the parliamentary election was held was on May 24, 2015.
In a recent press conference, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as well NEBE Chair Birtukan Mideksa have assured the publci that the elections scheduled for this year will take place on time. The Prime Minister has also pledged to the public that the elections will be free and fair.
There is considerable anxiety among the Ethiopian public on whether the upcoming elections will be free of violence and even whether they will be held at all. It is unknown how this will affect voter turnout if and when these elections are held. Elections in some areas, such as in Oromia, are expected to be hotly contested. The government has so far not disclosed how it will ensure safe and free elections in those areas.
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