Ethiopians are voting for the key election amid the rising tensions and a conflict in its northern Tigray region. This pandemic-delayed poll is the first electoral test of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after he came to power in 2018.
But the date of the vote has been postponed in Tigray, where the army has been fighting with the local force since November. Insecurity and logistical problems have a hit in the other parts of the country. So there will be no voting in the fifth of constituencies.
The Tigray conflict has made a spack in a humanitarian crisis. 350000 people are living in famine conditions, as a recent assessment says.
The head of the electoral commission Birtukan Midekssa is saying things have gone smoother. However, she is worrying along with intimidation for the opposition party agents in some of the places. It is particularly in the Amhara region and in the Southern Nations, with the People’s Region.
Some of the complaints are regarding the beating or denied access to the voting stations. In case this issue is not getting any solution, then the outcome of the election might get compromised.
In the capital, there is a long queue of voters. It is one area that expects to face a stiffer challenge. The oppositions at this place have succeeded in the past.
Demiss Beyene, who has started the queuing before the opening of the polls, said, “I came here to contribute to the election which I believe could be a great milestone for democracy.”
People are hoping that this election will bring peace and unity instead of dividing their ethnicity. Mr. Abiy came to power in 2018. He became the PM on the back of the protests against TPLF. In the last election, the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition and its allies, won all the seats.
Mr. Abiy has dissolved the coalition, and he has created a new party- The Prosperity Party. Mr. Abiy will keep his post in case the party wins a majority of 547 seats in the national assembly.
He has deployed the troops to Tigray for ousting the TPLF as the ruling party of the region. It has resulted in a conflict that has killed thousands of lives and led to hunger in the region. Hence this election has great significance.