Conflict-ridden Ethiopia said Monday it would not hold elections in at least 26 constituencies during the next round of landmark national elections due to security concerns.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party secured tenure in the first round in June by claiming 410 out of 436 controversial seats in the federal parliament.
But logistical challenges and uncertainty led to delays in some areas, and a second ballot is planned for September 30.
More than seven million voters can elect representatives for 47 federal parliamentary seats and 105 regional seats, electoral committee spokeswoman Solyana Shimeles said on Monday.
However, 18 constituencies in the Amhara region and eight in the Oromia region will not vote now, said Solyana.
Amhara was hit by fighting between government forces and the rebel group of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) drawn while Oromia is grappling with an uprising from the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).
Survey will also not take place in some constituencies in the Afar and Benishangul-Gumuz regions, the electoral board said, excluding the number .
“Basically we felt that some of the regions have different priorities, so they will not be able to provide logistical support for the election operations in their region,” said Solyana.
“We have not yet decided how and when the elections will be held in these locations. However, since the number of constituencies is small, we will decide together when the elections will be held, “she said.
Ethiopia has 547 constituencies nationwide, but the electoral board has written off plans to hold elections in Tigray which is currently largely under the control of the TPLF.
Ethiopia’s new government is slated to be formed on October 4th.
Solyana said the electoral committee is keen to announce the results of September 30th Polls through October 10.
Abiy came to power in 2018 after several years of anti-government protests and pledged to break with Ethiopia’s authoritarian past in part by holding the most democratic elections the country has ever seen .
The government coalition that preceded Abiy achieved astonishing majorities in the two previous elections, which, according to observers, fell far short of international standards for fairness.
An open one re vote in 2005 saw big gains for the opposition, but resulted in deadly crackdown on protests against Co ntested outcomes.
This year, some opposition parties, particularly in Abiy’s home region of Oromia, opted for the Boycotted elections and complained that their candidates were arrested and their offices destroyed.