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Ethiopia cancels elections indefinitely citing logistical problems

ETHIOPIA’S Electoral Commission has postponed next month’s parliamentary elections indefinitely, blaming growing logistical problems.

“The vote will not happen on June 5,” Election Commission chairwoman Birtukan Mideksa said. “We can’t tell you the date [of the rescheduled election] as the board has to examine the inputs it received from parties.”

She said her commission was behind schedule on finalising voter registration, training electoral staff, printing and distributing ballot papers.

“It proved almost impossible to achieve all of this by the dates initially set,” she said

Just 37 million people out of a population of 110 million had registered to vote in next month’s poll. The elections were originally due to be held in August last year, but were cancelled because of the Covid pandemic.

Ethiopia faces deep instability which was triggered by a military offensive against the restive northern Tigray region last November. It has been plunged into a deep humanitarian crisis with government forces accused of war crimes.

Violence has also spread to the Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia and Afar regions amid fears of the break up of Ethiopia.

Addis Ababa is also locked in a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over a mega dam it is developing on the river Nile.

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