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Board Sets Separate Election Dates, 2.5 Months Apart

June 12 , 2021

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has announced that voters will be casting their votes on two separate dates, two and a half months apart. Going forward with the majority of constituencies, most of them running for federal seats, on the initially planned date of June 21, 2021, the Board came to the decision to add an additional date on September 6, 2021, for 54 precluded constituencies, most of which are regional seats. Giving reasons such as flaws in the Board's IT team that resulted in defective ballot papers, a mistake that Chairwoman Birtukan Mideksa characterised as "gross negligence" and which resulted in the sacking of two of its IT personnel, the NEBE postponed the election in 27 regional and federal constituencies in four regional states. Somali Regional State leads with 13 constituencies, followed by SNNPR with 10 constituencies, three constituencies in Afar, and one in Amhara Regional State. Citing other reasons, mainly security concerns, the Board has once again postponed voting to early September in an additional 27 constituencies – eight in Amhara Regional State, seven in Oromia, six in SNNPR, four in Benishangul-Gumuz, and two in Harar. Among the 10 regions, only Sidama Regional State along with the two city administrations, Addis Abeba and Dire Dawa, will be going to the polls with the entirety of their constituencies on June 21, 2021. This is in addition to the expectation of the urgent printing of ballots to a constituency in Gambella. With Tigray Regional State still excluded from the election, the remaining eight regional states will have a portion of their constituencies forced to wait to cast their ballots until September 6, 2021.


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