Ethiopia announces new date for twice-delayed national elections

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Ethiopia’s poll body says twice-delayed national elections will now be held on June 21, kicking off a fresh countdown to a key test of democratic reforms under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Africa’s second most populous country was first due to hold the polls last August, but officials pushed them to June 5 of this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The logistical challenges promise to be daunting even with the delay, and the board would need to hire more than 100,000 additional staff and train them on voting day procedures and tabulating results.

Abiy came to power in 2018 on the back of several years of anti-government protests and promised to break from Ethiopia’s authoritarian past in part by holding the most democratic elections the country had ever seen.