Ethiopia’s Abiy, A Nobel Winner Tarnished By The Violence In Tigray, Is Facing Voters (Ethiopian Election)

Ethiopian election news abiy ahmed

Ethiopians are deciding Monday whether to return Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to office as a growing conflict in Tigray has threatened to engulf the region, unraveling the international good will that helped win Ahmed a Nobel Peace Prize just two years ago.

The vote, originally planned for last year but delayed by the pandemic, has been described by Abiy as the first attempt at free and fair elections in the country’s history.

Speaking at a rally last week, Abiy told supporters of his Prosperity Party that Ethiopia would defy the dire forecasts predicting violence surrounding the polls. “When the entire world is saying we will fight on election day, we will instead teach them a lesson,” he said.

Even so, Monday’s vote got underway against a chaotic backdrop — with delays in some areas due to violence. In other areas, delays were being attributed to other factors, including a boycott over allegations that the ruling Prosperity Party has engaged in harassment of its opposition members. The anti-Abiy parties in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest and most populous state, have decided to sit out the election. Tigray itself, which held elections last year in defiance of the federal government, will not be voting at all.

The country’s election board chief, Birtukan Mideksa, said that most of the voting had been peaceful so far, but she expressed concern that opposition parties had complained about violence and intimidation in several regions, including in the state of Amhara, which borders Tigray.

“This will jeopardize the credibility of the election process and its result,” Birtukan warned.

Election observers from the African Union and a number of Ethiopian groups were expected to monitor the balloting. Counting is expected to begin immediately after polls close on Monday, but results could take days.

Source: NPR

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