According to the Electoral Board on Friday,
Ethiopia will hold a parliamentary election on June 5, as Prime Minister Abiy
Ahmed tries to quench political and ethnic violence in many regions.
Voters registration for the June vote will take
place from 1st to 30th March, said the Electoral Board.
Abiy’s Prosperity Party, a pan-Ethiopian movement
he founded a year ago, faces challenges from ethnically based parties seeking
more power share for their regions.
Africa’s second most populous nation has a federal
system with 10 regional governments, many of which have boundary disputes with
neighboring areas or face low-level unrest.
On Friday, a Red Cross volunteer said the death
toll had risen to 222 from an attack in Ethiopia’s western Benishangul-Gumuz
“Yesterday we buried 207 people who are the
victims and 15 more from the attackers,” Melese Mesfin, a volunteer of Red
Cross, told Reuters.
The attack occurred in the village of Bekoji in
Bulen county in the Metekel zone, and the state-appointed Ethiopian Human
Rights Commission initially estimated more than 100 people had been killed.
More than 40,000 people fled their homes due to the
fighting, Bulen county spokesman Kassahun Addisu said. He said the county had
buried 207 people.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called the attack a
“massacre” and deployed federal troops there the next day. The
federal forces killed 42 armed men accused of attacking the village.
Wednesday’s attack by unidentified gunmen was the
latest deadly assault in an area bedeviled by ethnic violence.
The prime minister is also grappling with a
long-running insurgency in Ethiopia’s most populous region Oromiya. Many Oromo
politicians are now in jail charged with terrorism offenses after the killing
of popular Oromo musician Hachalu Hundessa, whose death sparked protests that
killed at least 178 people in Oromiya and the capital Addis Ababa.
the northern Tigray region, thousands of people are believed to have died and
950,000 have fled their homes since fighting between regional and federal
forces erupted on November 4.
held its own elections in September in defiance of the federal government which
declared the polls illegal.
National Electoral Board said next year’s calendar for polls did not include an
election in Tigray. It said the date for a Tigray vote would be set once an
interim government, which was established during the conflict, opened election
Owing to the coronavirus outbreak, the national
vote was postponed from August this year. The winning party’s head becomes
Ethiopia had been governed by a group of four
ethnicity-based movements led by the Tigray party for almost three decades
before the appointment of Abiy. The administration governed in an increasingly
autocratic way until, after years of demonstrations, Abiy took office in 2018.