Ethiopia’s election commission on Friday announced the governing party, Tigray People’s Liberation Front, has won all contested seats in elections in the northern Tigray region, which was held conducted despite a government directive postponing regional and national elections until at least next year, reported Reuters.
“The total seats for all the regional constituencies were won by the TPLF,” regional election commissioner Muluwork Kidanemariam said on Friday.
Muluwork said the official turnout during Wednesday’s election was “97 or 98 percent” from more than 2.6 million registered voters. The regional parliament comprises 190 seats – 152 of which were up for grabs in the polls. Five parties including TPLF have participated in the regional election on Wednesday.
The election commissioner said the remaining 38 seats will be allocated after negotiations among the five political parties who participated in the vote, meaning there is still a chance for some opposition representation. He said he would announce the breakdown of results shortly.
The election is likely to have affected an already hostile relationship with the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who has already declared the election as “unconstitutional” and “illegal.”
Ethiopia was supposed to hold national elections in August, but the national poll body announced in March they would need to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The new plan to hold the elections some time in 2021has extended the government’s term by at least nine months.
But, Tigrayan leaders rejected the extension of mandates – which would have expired in October – contending that if national elections did not happen, Abiy’s government would become illegitimate. They have accused Prime Minister Abiy of trying to illegally extend his time as leader of Africa’s second-most populous nation.
Tigrayans constitute only six percent of Ethiopia’s population of 110 million, but they have had an outsized influence in the country since leading the armed struggle that removed the communist regime in 1991.