There are areas where elections will continue tomorrow – areas where there were shortages of ballot paper
The Ethiopian election was delayed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic in the country and on grounds of security situations. There are still areas where elections are scheduled to take place in early September due to the security considerations and other factors.
Chairperson of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, Birtukan Mideksa, on Monday said that the election was peaceful except in few polling stations where there was shortage of ballot papers. She also said voters came out in large numbers for the voting.
She identified some polling stations in Benishangul Gumuz, Sidama and Gambella regions as areas where there was shortage of ballot papers.
The explanations she gave for the shortages, “ballot papers that were supposed to be a pack of 100 were packed as 50,” as reported by state media, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporate. It is unclear if the package error is only in relation to the polling stations cited above, or it was nationwide.
Furthermore, she said ballot papers have been dispatched to 19 polling stations in the Sidama region and that voting will continue on Tuesday starting 11:00 a.m.
In areas like Gambella, the election is halted until the Election Board decides what to do about it, as reported by state media. Bertkuan Midekssa said it was difficult to deliver materials “due to the remoteness of the locations.”
Similarly, ballot papers are sent to areas in parts of Benishangul region where there was shortage and the Election Board is yet to decide when the election will take place.
In Assosa, Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia, opposition parties made complaints. Election was halted before all registered voters cast their votes. According to a report by DW Amharic, there were shortages of ballot papers in 102 polling stations – which is confirmed by Election Board Branch office head – Tadesse Lemma.
In a brief statement issued on Monday, National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) expressed displeasure with the way the election was conducted in some parts of the country. It said that the ruling party was unable to extricate itself from its habit of putting pressure and “illegal” practices, which it says has dashed the hopes of “our people.”
There were also positive remarks from some opposition figures. Berhanu Nega, leader of Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice Party (EZEMA), told journalists, “This is the first meaningful election rather than the sixth election. The previous five elections were not elections in any meaningful ways. I hope that it would, at the end of the day, be credible. And it is a reflection of popular will.”
However, he did not seem to deny shortcomings of the process too.
“This does not mean,” he said, ” that there would not be problems, but the problems would not change the outcome.”
According to Election Board Chairwomen, election results will be sent starting Tuesday.