The process of counting the votes in the Ethiopian parliamentary and local elections continues, and while the opposition confirmed the occurrence of electoral irregularities, the head of the Ethiopian Electoral Council, Birtukan Medixa, said that “the elections ended peacefully and safely, and only limited complaints were recorded.”
Medexa added that the vote counting process has begun throughout Ethiopia, and that the results will be announced successively when this is confirmed, while the results are expected to be announced throughout the country within 10 days.
The Election Commission extended voting throughout the country for 3 hours, due to the presence of long queues in front of many polling stations despite the end of voting time.
Voting was postponed in 110 constituencies out of a total of 547, due to violence and logistical difficulties, as it was not held in the regions of Tigray (North) and Somalia (Ogaden) in the east of the country.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the general and regional elections were evidence of his commitment to democracy. “I hope it will be the best election in history,” he told reporters after casting his vote.
On the other hand, the opposition spoke of violations in two areas, stressing that several opposition parties complained that their representatives had been beaten and their badges confiscated.
Opposition leader Berhanu Nega said his party, Citizens of Ethiopia for Social Justice, had submitted 207 complaints to the election commission.
He added that local officials and militias prevented observers from entering many polling stations in the Amhara region and in the Southern Nations region.
The elections came at a time when the image of Abi Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, was damaged by the explosion of ethnic political violence across the country and the conflict in the Tigray region (north), after the military operation launched by the government in the north of the country seven months ago and plunged the region into famine.
On March 23, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, acknowledged that atrocities had occurred against civilians during the conflict in Tigray, including rapes committed by soldiers, stressing that those involved would be held accountable.
But his Prosperity Party is still the frontrunner to win a majority.
In Ethiopia, deputies elect the prime minister who runs the government, as well as the president, whose position is ceremonial.