The head of the electoral board of Ethiopia, Birtukan Mideksa reportedly said that the plans to hold the vote for parliament and regional councils have been postponed to August 16. While speaking to an international media outlet, Mideksa said the elections were supposed to be held in May, but because neither authorities nor parties would be ready, the board decided to postpone the date. She further also added that the results of the elections would be due between August 17-26, however, she told the international reporters that the dates are still tentative.
According to reports, there have been regular parliamentary elections since the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) took power back in 1991, however, none of the election was competitive. The country's 100 million people are also seeing unprecedented political change. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's reforms have also unleashed ethnic rivalries that have driven millions from their homes.
Ethiopian PM Abiy was appointed by EPRDF after three years of anti-government protests. During the last elections, he also promised reforms including a credible multi-party poll in 2020. During his term period, he has also freed journalists and activists, lifted bans on political parties, appointed former dissidents to high-level posts and prosecuted officials for rights abuses. The opposition parties have also reportedly warned that the delays to the parliamentary election could further fuel unrest and dent the democratic credentials of Abiy.
Prime Minister Abiy has been credited with ending the decade-long conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. However, during his time in office, domestic tensions festered between ethnic groups. Jawar Mohammed, the founder of an independent media network, told an international media that the Ethiopian Prime Minister is taking the country back to the old ways of authoritarian rule.
Jawar further added that PM Abiy has restored to the early signs of dictatorship as he is trying to intimidate people. He claims that he wants to have an active role in the coming election and wants to make sure that the influence he has in the country has a positive contribution.