Ethiopian Election Board Set to Hold Elections within 13 Months

By Staff Reporter

NEBE-EthiopiaMay 21, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is set to hold the 6th general elections after 13 months at maximum with additional funding requirements of more than 2.5 billion birr.

NEBE on Thursday proposed two elections time frames during which it can finalize preparations to conduct the elections amid coronavirus pandemic.

The electoral board on March 31, 2020 announced the postponement of the national elections scheduled for August 29, 2020 due to problems related to coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Deputy chair of the board Wubishet Ayele told the Council of Constitutional Inquiry on Thursday, the election can be held either after ten or 13 months at a cost of 8 billion Birr, up by 2.5 billion Birr from the previous budget.

Wubishet announced two scenarios in which NEBE can organize the elections and according to the first scenario, the electoral board can organize the election without further procedural amendments.

The first scenario needs 60 days for general pre-operational activities, 76 days to secure budget and educate the public, and 102 days for the electoral campaign by competing parties.

He said that the board needs more than 139 million Birr for training, logistic and related works, and a total of 10 months for the whole pre-election activities.

According to the second scenario, post-COVID-19 situations require additional amendments in election proceedings and legal frameworks.

The second scenario states that since the pandemic continues and state of emergency will be in effect, the publication of electoral forms, campaigns, registration, voting, and vote counting duration may be elapsed.

Improved health guidelines and vote reorganization works are also needed, he added.

Wubishet said declining supports form international organizations due to coronavirus global impact, additional expenditures to the board are taken into considerations in the scenarios.

The deputy chairperson said concerned public institutions that have a role in the election need an additional 90 days to reorganize them in compliance with COVID-19 response, and that affects the election budget.

Each polling station needs one additional individual in charge of health protocols so that the total number of election personnel increases from 180, 000 to 240,000.

Voters’ registration requires 55 days while candidates’ registration needs 21 days, and 128 additional days for electoral campaigns based on the second scenario, Wubshet added.

A total of 420, 000 individuals that need personal protection equipment and sanitizing materials are required for the election, he said adding that the voting should be completed within one day to reduce risks related to the spread of the pandemic.

Wubshet further underscored that 13 months of time and a budget of more than 2.5 billion birr or $73 Million budget will be required for the preparations for the delayed election due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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