ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s election body set a date on Friday of Aug. 29 for free parliamentary elections that will be a first test of voter support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has eased political restrictions since he took office in 2018.
The date is two weeks later than the electoral board had previously indicated. It did not immediately give a reason for the delay.
Ethiopia’s 109 million people are experiencing unprecedented political and economic change, but Abiy’s reforms have also unleashed ethnic rivalries that have spilled into violence.
Plans to hold the parliament and regional council elections in May were postponed as neither authorities nor parties would be ready, electoral board head Birtukan Mideksa said in January.
Ethiopia has had regular parliamentary elections since the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) took power in 1991 but, with one exception, none were competitive. (Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Jon Boyle)