The National Elections Board of Ethiopia, NEBE, has announced a tentative date for national elections. The outfit proposed that polls should be held August 16, 2020.
A final date is expected to be announced on February 1, 2020 after the board takes into consideration inputs from the public and other stakeholders. It added that postponing elections beyond September 2020 will raise legal questions.
The NEBE position was communicated during a dialogue organized by the Birtukan Mideksa-led board and relevant stakeholders on matters relating to the much anticipated polls.
It will be the first national poll conducted under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed whose widespread reforms since April 2018 opened Ethiopia’s hitherto shrunk political and democratic space.
The last polls held in Africa’s second most populous nation was in 2015. The outcome was contested as the now defunct EPRDF and allies swept majority of seats in parliament.
Under Mideksa, the NEBE’s last major electoral duty was when it successfully organized a referendum in the southern region for Sidama Statehood in late 2019. The conduct of the polls was largely praised as smooth with YES voters winning by a landslide that ushers in Ethiopia’s 10th regional state.
The privately-run Addis Standard portal reports that when concerns over August being a rainy season was raised, the NEBE stressed that it was poised to coordinate logistical tasks with federal and regional governments.