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HomeNewsInternational NewsEthiopia Again Delays National Election Amid Deadly Tensions

Ethiopia Again Delays National Election Amid Deadly Tensions

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia has again delayed its national election after some opposition parties said they wouldn’t take part and as conflict in the country’s Tigray region means no vote is being held there, further complicating Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s efforts to centralize power.

The head of the national elections board, Birtukan Mideksa, in a meeting with political parties’ representatives on Saturday said the June 5 vote in Africa’s second most populous country would be postponed, citing the need to finish printing ballots, training staffers and compiling voters’ information. The board said she estimated a delay of two to three weeks.

Ethiopia last year delayed the vote, the first major electoral test for Abiy, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. That heightened tensions with the Tigray region’s leaders, who declared that the prime minister’s mandate had ended and defiantly held a regional vote of their own that Ethiopia called illegal.

Since then, war in Tigray has killed thousands and led the United States to allege that “ethnic cleansing” against Tigrayans was being carried out in the western part of Tigray, a region of some 6 million people. The term “ethnic cleansing” refers to forcing a population from a region through expulsions and other violence, often including killings and rapes.

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