Ethiopia’s electoral board on Friday announced the parliamentary elections in the country has been set on August 29, nearly two weeks later than the initial timeline, owing to weather conditions, reported Reuters.
“As per the allowed legal provisions, we’ve decided to revise the electoral date to August 29,” electoral board chairwoman Birtukan Mideksa announced during a conference in Addis Ababa on Friday.
Although the new election date still falls in the middle of the rainy season, Mideksa said fewer areas will have rain compare at the end of the month.
“Looking at parts of the country which will be affected by the rainy season, pushing the schedule a little further will ease our burden,” the electoral board chairwoman said.
She added that the electoral commission will work with the National Meteorology Agency of Ethiopia to mitigate the impact of the rainy season on the electoral schedule.
The Board said lists of candidates for the election will be disclosed between July 5 and July 7, 2020. The election campaigns will begin from May 28 and continue until August 24, and the results will be revealed at the polling stations from August 30 to September 8.
The upcoming election will be the first test of voter support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was appointed in 2018 after several years of anti-government protests. He won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his efforts at reconciliation with Ethiopia’s neighbor and longtime foe Eritrea.
Abiy, who is seeking re-election, has promised that this year’s vote will be free and fair.
In related news, Ethiopia’s parliament on Thursday passed a controversial law that aims to punish people for spreading hate speech and disinformation. Those found in violation of the law could face a fine of as high as 100,000 Ethiopian birr ($3,115) and imprisonment of up to five years.