Election Board Explains Reasons for Postponement of Election

May 21, 2020

Addis Ababa, May 21/2020 (ENA)The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) briefed the Council of Constitutional Inquiry about the COVID-19 related challenges that prevented it from conducting the 2020 general election.

The board has introduced two scenarios regarding the participation in the final hearing organized by the federal Constitutional Inquiry Council.

NEBE Deputy Chairperson, Wubshet Ayele told the Constitutional Inquiry Council that the electoral board on March 31, 2020 announced the postponement of the general election scheduled for August 29, 2020 due to Coronavirus pandemic.

The board which assessed the possible impacts of the pandemic also considered two scenarios with regard to conducting the election as scheduled.

According to him, the board has sought and obtained the advice of World Health Organization, Ministry of Health, Health Bureaus, medical workers and epidemiologist to prepare the scenarios.

In the first scenario, the electoral board could hold elections without further procedural amendments but needed 60 days for pre-operational activities, 76 days to secure budget for educating the public, and 102 days for electoral campaigns by competing parties.

And for preparations in education, logistic and related works, a total of 10 months for the whole pre election activities and over 139 million birr could be required.

However, as the pandemic continued and state of emergency went into effect, activities such as publishing of electoral forms, electoral campaigns, registration, voting and vote counting could not be conducted, he said.

The second scenario in post-COVID 19 situation stipulated additional amendments in election proceedings and legal frameworks, and it might affect public participation in the voting process.

Under this scenario, Wubshet stated that 13 months of time and a budget of 2.5 billion birr budget would be needed for the preparations of the postponed election.