Challenges Ahead For Ethiopia as 2021 Polls Loom

Ethiopia is set to hold its sixth general election for members of the federal parliament and regional councils on June 5, 2021. Despite the upbeat expectations, the June elections face serious challenges. The's party system is extremely volatile, weak and fragmented. Moreover, the elections will take place amid the upheaval in Tigray, one of the country's 10 federal regions. However, Girmachew Alemu writes for The Conversation that there are many reasons to be optimismistic.

Firstly, several exiled opposition politicians and political parties are allowed to operate inside the country. Secondly, a new electoral law has set out new rules for political party registration. These have had the effect of pushing out a large number of weak and fragmented political parties from the party system. Thirdly, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia is now accountable to the House of Peoples' Representatives, the federal legislative house. And, in a significant compromise between the ruling and opposition political parties, a prominent former opposition politician and political prisoner, was appointed by the House of Peoples' Representatives in late 2018 to lead the board.

InFocus

The Ethiopian parliament in session (file photo).

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