Ethiopia elections 2021: ably Ahmed faces the first vote amid conflict. Ethiopians are voting in key elections amid escalating tensions and conflict in the northern Ti Gray region. This pandemic-delayed poll is Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s first electoral test since taking office in 2018.
However, voting has been postponed in T-Grey, where the military has been fighting local forces since November. As instability and logistical problems have also affected other regions, there will be no voting in about a fifth of the constituencies overall.
Recent assessments show that the Tea Gray conflict has sparked a humanitarian crisis, with 350,000 people living in famine.
Birtukan Midekssa, chairman of the Election Commission, said that although things were mostly going well, he was concerned about the threat of opposition agents in some regions, especially in the Amahara region and southern countries, nationalities, and people’s areas.
“Some complain that they have been beaten or denied access to polling places,” she told reporters. “If this issue is not addressed immediately, the election results could be undermined,” she said. In the capital, Addis Ababa, BBC reporters line up for long voters. That’s one of the areas where Abiy is expected to face tough challenges and the opposition has been successful in the past.
“I’m here to contribute to an election I believe could be a significant milestone for democracy,” Demis Beyen, who began lining up two hours before the polls, told the BBC. Another voter from Addis Ababa, Tadel Lech Venti, said, “I believe the elections will bring peace.
I hope this election will restore our unity instead of dividing us by ethnicity.” The first general election since 2015 was originally scheduled for August 2020 but has been rescheduled due to the coronavirus.
Results are expected within 5 days.
Why are these elections so important? Abiy came to power in 2018 as the nominee for the then governing coalition but has never faced the electorate. He became prime minister after protests against the government ruled by the T-Grey People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and introduced a series of reforms.
Although the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition and its allies won all seats in the last election, Abiy broke the coalition to reduce ethnic division and created a new party, the Prosperity Party. However, the TPLF did not join.
If the party wins a majority of 547 seats in the National Assembly, Abiy will retain his position. He said the poll would be “America’s first attempt at free and fair elections.” His reformist enthusiasm saw him winning the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, but only a year later, he began military operations in his homeland.
He deployed an army to T-Grey after his father seized a military base in an attempt to overthrow him, ousting the TPLF as the ruling party in the region. The result is a conflict that has resulted in thousands of deaths and reports of mass starvation and famine in the area. What does the opposition say? More than 40 political parties have nominated candidates, but most are local parties.
Opposition parties have complained that the government’s crackdown on civil servants has hampered plans to prepare the polls. Ethiopian Social Justice Citizen’s Leader Berhanu Nega, one of the main opposition parties, said in the vote he hoped the outcome would reflect the will of the public.
“This doesn’t mean there aren’t any problems, but problems won’t be significant enough to overturn or reflect what the public actually voted,” he told reporters at the polling station. In some pivotal areas, such as Oromia, opposition parties are boycotting elections, claiming government threats.
The TPLF has been designated a terrorist organization. Some leaders have been arrested, others are on the run or are continuing guerrilla warfare in T-Grey. View of Abiy Ahmed’s home district constituency, In a valley between rolling hills, the local market in the village of Beshasha turned into a polling place for a day.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was born and raised here and he is very popular. But two candidates are playing against Abiy, who said local officials have harassed supporters and made the campaign difficult. But they are careful about how much they criticize the prime minister.
Some of the country’s largest political parties have rejected this election, citing national threats. And some of Abiy’s biggest opponents on the national stage are being held in custody on charges of destabilizing the country.
Even though 20% of constituencies will not vote today, the government says it is backing the ballot today and will truly reflect the will of the Ethiopians. Will the survey be free and fair? Despite being billed as a national contest, no elections will be held in about one-fifth of the country’s 547 constituencies, including 38 seats for T-Grey and 64 seats across Ethiopia.
Most delayed voting is scheduled for September 6th, but Tigray has yet to set a date. There are election observers from the African Union and several Ethiopian groups, but the EU will not send a team. Last May, the EU accused Ethiopia of failing to guarantee its mission’s independence.
Abiy dismissed international concerns and argued that elections would be free and fair. “If the world says we’re going to fight on Election Day, we’ll teach them a lesson instead,” he said at a rally last week.