Ethiopia national election next year


Ethiopia’s ruling coalition said a national election will be held next year, defying concerns over security and displacement in the Horn of Africa country that led some to speculate on postponement.

The executive committee did not give a date for the poll. “The executive committee decided the election will be conducted next year,” committee member Getachew Reda said.

An attempted coup in June by a rogue militia in northern Amhara region raised doubts over the ruling party’s ability to ensure security and an increase in ethnic violence made some query whether the election would be held.

Opposition parties are keen to avoid delays despite outbreaks of ethnic violence that have contributed to the displacement of 2.4 million Ethiopians.

Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous nation.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has rolled out political reforms since coming to power last year, including unbanning political parties, releasing political prisoners and journalists and welcoming home exiled rebel groups.

Tensions within the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which has ruled with an iron grip since 1991, rose following the failed coup.

In a rare public feud, two of its four ethnic parties traded barbs over who was responsible for the violence.

After decades of harsh rule, Abiy’s reforms created new freedoms but old grievances and disputes resurfaced with local power-brokers seeking to build support by securing power and territory for their ethnic groups coming out.

Waves of unrest in parts of the country forced postponement of a long-delayed national census.