Ethiopia postpones June 5 parliamentary elections


FILE PHOTO: National Electoral Board of Ethiopia Chairperson Birtukan Mideksa addresses a news conference on the upcoming election in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 8, 2021. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia has postponed parliamentary elections due on June 5, the country's electoral body said on Saturday, adding it did not foresee a delay of more than three weeks.

The Horn of Africa country was originally scheduled to hold the vote in August 2020 but it was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, there has been conflict in the northern region of Tigray, which will not take part in voting, as well as in other areas.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his Prosperity Party face challenges from increasingly strident ethnically-based parties seeking more power for their regions.

Birtukan Mideksa, chairperson of The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), "indicated that delays in opening polling stations and voter registration have pushed the voting day," state news agency Fana reported.

Mideksa confirmed to Reuters the vote would not happen on June 5.

"We will let everybody (know) soon as to how many additional weeks/days to complete the delayed tasks ... Wouldn't be more than 3 weeks," she added.

(Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by David Clarke, William Maclean)

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