More than 200 international election observers registered to monitor the upcoming general election scheduled to be held on June 5, 2020, according to the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). The Board also indicated that 111 local election observers have also been registered so far.
The Board, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has drafted guidelines and directives that will govern the election monitoring process, while they are expected to be signed by observers very soon.
“After being approved by the Board, the guidelines will entail procedures that would be adopted during the monitoring process,” said Mahlet Tiruneh, NEBE’s Foreign Relations & Gender Affairs Section Expert.
The European Union and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are among renowned international organizations which have approached the Board to come up with their delegation to observe the election.
Talking to The Reporter, the European Union Political Officer, Jozef Naudts on Thursday said that the EU Electoral Observation Mission to Ethiopia is under preparation to send a technical team.
“They are expected to arrive in Addis Ababa later this month to make more detailed preparations,” said Naudts.
According to him, the Union is yet to pick its Chief Election observer and identify members of the delegation.
Furthermore, sources indicated that the African Union has also expressed its willingness to participate as an observer, although it is yet to make an official request to the Board.
During the last election, which was conducted six years ago, many international observers including the European Union and other American election watchdogs were largely absent, choosing not to monitor the vote.
The sole external organization participating in the 2015 election was the African Union, which ultimately confirmed the ruling party as the winner, taking 100 percent of the seats in parliament.
Afterwards, the AU’s final observation results painted the general election as peaceful and credible, ultimately facing harsh criticism from a range of organizations including Human rights watch and other prominent figures.
“Besides international observers, the NEBE has also received at least 111 observing demand requests from several local organizations following its invitation sent to interested organizations,” said Mahlet. She added “The assessment results of the local organizations which have applied to observe the elections will be announced very soon.”
Africa’s second-most populous nation with some 110 million, the Board expects up to 50 million Ethiopians to vote in the next national election.
Hence, distribution of equipment including laptops, generators, printers, and voters’ cards has begun by the end of this week through various transportation mechanisms including airplane, military vehicles, boat, pack animals, and other means of transportation to reach all 49,407 polling stations, the Board said.
The NEBE has also prepared three kinds of polling stations. While regular polling stations are set for the regular public, a special polling station will be used for internally displaced people and special polling station II for military and student voters.
Meanwhile, the Board’s Chairwoman, Birtukan Mideksa spoke of receiving repeated complaints from opposition political parties including the detention of their members, forceful closure of offices, and lack of permission to gather and hold meetings, and similar issues.
The majority of the complaints from political parties are accusations against the ruling Prosperity Party. She also said that preparations for the election are proceeding based on the calendar it has publicized almost two months ago.
Ethiopia will hold its parliamentary election on June 5 of this year. Except for Tigray regional state, which still has a precarious security situation, people living in the other parts of Ethiopia will be voting in June 2020.