World, Africa

Election campaign ends as Ethiopians brace for June 21 polls

Over 40M voters to elect 547 members of federal parliament in 6th parliamentary election

Addis Getachew and Seleshi Tessema   | 16.06.2021
Election campaign ends as Ethiopians brace for June 21 polls Supporters of Genuine Democracy party take the streets after gathering at Meskel Square to support their political party ahead of the general elections, planned to take place on June 21, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 16, 2021. ( Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency )

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia on Wednesday announced June 16 is the last day of campaigning by political parties and independent candidates for the general election scheduled for June 21.

More than 40 million voters will elect 547 members of the federal parliament in the 6th parliamentary and regional council elections across Ethiopia.

Voting in the Harari region and some parts of the Somali regional state in Ethiopia, districts in Western Somalia and Metekel Zone of Benishangul Gumuz state will be conducted in August due to administrative, logistic or security reasons.

The last general election in the Horn of Africa country was held in 2015.

“From June 17 onward, no political party across the country is allowed to make political campaigning online, on the streets, in person, house-to-house, public places,” the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia said in a statement.

It added: “No media organization shall publicize activities focused on elections during the no-campaign days.”

Abiy Ahmed, head of the ruling Prosperity Party, is in Jimma, making his last plea to his constituency while across the country his party has launched massive campaigning through public gatherings, erecting huge billboards and posters.

On Wednesday, hundreds of supporters of the contesting political parties such as Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice and Balderas for Genuine Democracy were seen on the streets in the capital Addis Ababa, waving the Ethiopian tricolor flags and chanting slogans.

The Ethiopian government pledged to give the nation free, fair and democratic elections and vowed to accept defeat and encouraged others to commit to the same principle. But a number of parties based in Ethiopia’s most populous Oromia region, including the Oromo Federalist Congress and the Oromo Liberation Party, expressed misgivings and withdrew from the run.

The northernmost region of Tigray, a region of 5.5 million people, is under an interim administration and no future election date has been fixed for the region.

The Ethiopian government launched a massive law enforcement operation after the Tigray People Liberation front attacked the Ethiopian defense forces stationed across Tigray, including the capital Mekele, in November last year.

More than 46 political parties and hundreds of independents are vying for seats in the federal parliament or membership with regional states’ councils.

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