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Ethiopia : election, referendum to take place on Thursday

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The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia is poised to administer an election and a referendum on Thursday.  

The election will take place in two areas of Ethiopia where the sixth general election did not take place, either due to security or logistical problems, or both. 

In Harari and Somali regional states, residents of the regions will cast their ballot to elect their representatives for national and regional parliaments. 

In South West Ethiopia, it is a different story.  It is a referendum to decide for a new statehood – one that is not based on ethnic identity but rather a geographical one.  Last year, what used to be Sidama zone of the Southern People’s Nations and Nationalities Region voted, in a referendum, to have its own region, and parted ways from SNNPR. 

If the South Western region referendum turns out to be a “yes” majority, it will follow Sidama zone suit to be a region on its own. Unlike Sidama, however, it will be a multi-ethnic region. 

The NEBE on Wednesday announced that public service providing institutions will remain closed in the parts of Ethiopia  that are casting vote either for the election or the referendum. 

Also, non-governmental and private business will be closed – the board announced. 

Exception to the closure is essential service providers including health services, transportation and hotels. 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party has already secured absolute majority vote for the national and regional parliaments. 

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