Ethiopia sets August 16 as a tentative date for national elections

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(National Post) — ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s upcoming national vote will probably be held on Aug. 16, the electoral board said on Wednesday, the first poll under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who has eased political restrictions and opened the economy since taking office in 2018.

Ethiopia’s 100 million people are seeing unprecedented political change, but Abiy’s reforms have also uncorked ethnic rivalries that have driven more than 2 million from their homes.

Electoral board head Birtukan Mideksa told a meeting of political parties and civil society groups that plans to hold the vote for parliament and regional councils in May had been postponed as neither authorities nor parties would be ready.

The new Aug. 16 date is tentative, she told Reuters. Results would be due between Aug. 17-26.

There have been regular parliamentary elections since the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) took power in 1991 but, with one exception, none were competitive.

Africa’s youngest leader, Abiy, 43, was appointed by the EPRDF after three years of anti-government protests, promising reforms including a credible multi-party poll in 2020.

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