October 19, 2021

Lakefront Hartwell

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Ethiopia, a “first free vote” in legislative and regional elections

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Africa’s second-most populous country has been rocked by violence in the long-running legislative and regional elections in which Ethiopians will vote on Monday. In some areas, opposition parties have called for a boycott of the by-elections.

Ethiopians are invited to the polls on Monday, June 21st Regional and Assembly elections The prime minister presented evidence of his commitment to democracy after decades of repressive rule in Africa’s second most populous country.

Abi Ahmed, 44, implemented significant political and economic reforms since he was appointed in 2018 by the ruling coalition. But some activists believe civil liberties are being reversed and condemn abuses of conflict in the Tigre region, accusations that the government rejects.

Last week, the Prime Minister described Ethiopia as “the first attempt at free and fair elections”, a time when the prosperous economy was severely affected. Violence in the country And the corona virus health crisis.

The opposition should boycott the ballot

These elections could have an impact beyond Ethiopia’s borders, as the country has significant diplomatic weight in the turbulent region, providing peacekeeping forces to Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.

Abi Ahmed’s party, the newly formed Prosperity Party, has a large number of candidates in the election, mainly from smaller ethnic parties.

In some parts of the country, such as Oromia, the most populous province, opposition parties have called for a boycott of the polls, denouncing intimidation by security forces.

Elsewhere, one-fifth of the country’s 547 constituencies were postponed due to voter registration issues and ethnic violence. Of those 64, the vote was postponed to September 6.

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No election date has been set for Tigray’s 38 constituencies, where the war has been raging for more than seven months.

With AFP and Reuters