Ethiopia will hold a parliamentary election on June 5 next year, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tries to quell outbreaks of deadly political and ethnic violence in several regions.
Voter registration will take place from March 1 to 30, the National Electoral Board said.
Abiy’s Prosperity Party, a pan-Ethiopian movement he founded a year ago, faces challenges from increasingly strident ethnically-based parties seeking more power for their regions.
Africa’s second most populous nation has a federal system and 10 regional governments, many of whom have border disputes or face low-level unrest.
In the northern Tigray region, thousands of people are believed to have died and 950,000 have fled their homes since fighting between regional forces and the federal government erupted on Nov. 4. Tigray held its own elections in September in defiance of the federal government, which declared the polls illegal.
The election board said its calendar for next year’s polls does not include an election in Tigray. It said it would announce a date for elections there once the interim government established during the conflict is able to support the opening of election offices there.
For nearly three decades until Abiy’s appointment, Ethiopia was ruled by a coalition of four ethnically-based movements dominated by the party from Tigray. That administration ruled in an increasingly autocratic fashion until Abiy took power in 2018 following years of bloody anti-government street protests.
The initial months after Abiy’s appointment saw a rush of political and economic reforms, including the release of tens of thousands of political prisoners.
Last year Abiy merged three of the old parties to form the Prosperity Party – only the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) refused to join.
Rita Osakwe/Agency Reports