– The Ethiopian Citizens’ Social Justice (Ezema) and Freedom and Equality Party (FEP) branches in Somali region announced their withdrawal from the second round of the 6th national elections. This happens just days after the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) withdrew and nine days before election day in the region.
The regional branches of Ezema and FEP have made their withdrawal in a joint Declaration Announced Released today, they highlighted the reasons for the withdrawal and announced that both parties will join the ONLF to withdraw from the elections.
The statement read: “It was important that the 6th Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia take place and that a peaceful and fair environment be created in the Somali region in which all political parties can compete on an equal basis and free from obstacles. It is worth recalling that the political parties in the region reached an agreement with the National Electoral Committee of Ethiopia (NEBE) on this goal, all political parties in the region reached an agreement but complained that the agreement had been broken and complained were registered with the electoral board.
The parties recalled a request they had made to replace ‘stolen ballot papers “with new ones and said:” But the previously stolen ballot papers will be used in the upcoming election, so that the votes are not credible. ”The Parites added that their request for additional polling stations was not answered.
The parties also accused the electoral board of” merging “with the government structure , and protested that election leaders who stole election materials were not brought to justice. The parties also complained that there had been no changes to the distribution of voting papers, the hiring and training process of election officials, the registration and voter registration process.
Both parties claimed that voting papers and Materials were used solely for the benefit of the Somali branch of the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) without the knowledge of the National Electoral Board and that the material was “in the hands of Woreda and Kebele officials”. only by the ruling party. ”
The statement also stated that due to an information gap it is not clear how many voter cards were distributed as they are under the control of Woreda and Kebele officials, which make it difficult for the candidates to send their observers.
The declaration then ended with the addition “For the reasons mentioned above and since there is no possibility for free and fair elections, we are withdrawing “. The elections are due to take place on September 30, 2021. “
The statement reflects earlier statements by Abdi Mahdi, the chairman of the ONLF, who spoke to Addis Standard . said, “There is no point in pursuing a choice that has already been made.”