Ethiopia’s election board left with no option but to postpone the general election which was supposed to take place at the end of this Ethiopian Year in August
March 31, 2020
Following consultations with political parties and other stakeholders, the National Election Board of Ethiopia announced in February 2020 that the national election would take place on August 29, 2020.
As it turns out, the Coronavirus situation and the series of measures introduced by the Federal and regional governments offset the schedule.
The Board said on Tuesday that the election could not take place in August 2020 as planned.
“Due to the situation, the Board understood that it could not carry out the election as planned and has suspended activities that were supposed to take place according to the schedule [disclosed in February [,” said the Board.
Ethiopia’s election board said that the decision is informed by a study of the situation in the country and its impact on carrying activities that must take place before the election.
It also claimed that the legislative body, the Ministry of Health, political parties, and international partners are consulted about the situation.
What it means is that the Board will have to work on a new election schedule after the Coronavirus situation is solved, and there does not seem to be speculation as to when that happens.
However, actions that are necessary for the next election, which could not be impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic in the country, and in the world too, will be underway, said the election Board.
Constitutionally, the Ethiopian general election has to happen a month before the end of the term of the parliament. The Board expressed that it would like the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives to understand that the election can not take place as planned. It also offered the parliament a copy of the result of a study conducted in connection with the impact of the Coronavirus.
Training over one thousand trainers drawn from all regions in the country and over one hundred fifty thousand election workers was supposed to take place in weeks according to the schedule disclosed in February 2020. Similarly, voter registration and training were scheduled to start in April 2020.
The Board claims that most political parties have considered the gravity to the health emergency in the country and have proposed for the Board to consult with relevant government bodies to come up with an alternative election execution plan.
Ethiopian regional states have banned intra-regional public transportation, and the Federal government has banned large gatherings, among other measures, the impacts of which make election-related activities difficult.
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