CAPE TOWN – Ethiopia has postponed much anticipated national elections which were due in August, citing the Covid-19 outbreak.
The decision announced by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) comes as the country sits on 25 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
“After conducting a detailed assessment of the impact Covid-19 would have on its operation, NEBE decided to cancel the current electoral calendar and suspend elections operations of the coming national elections planned to be conducted in August 2020,” it said.
The electoral board said the government was taking strict steps to curb the spread of the disease and had instituted the regional government’s state of emergency.
“The international partner organisations that support the board; most of them have made their employees work at home and some of them have returned to their country,” said the NEBE.
The 2020 election would have been the sixth for Ethiopia, which holds a parliamentary vote every five years according to the current constitution that came into effect in 1994.
Before the postponement, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had promised a free, fair and credible ballot, unlike previous ones which have been contentious.