Ethiopia prepares for tense, long-delayed elections

Ethiopia is holding National and Regional Parliamentary Election today.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says the election will be the country’s first free and fair polls after decades of repressive rule.

However, voting has been delayed in 110 out of 547 constituencies due to violent conflicts, logistical constraints and some opposition parties boycotting the election, alleging harassment of their members.  One candidate is contesting the election from jail.

Prime Minister Abiy within months of taking office, unbanned opposition parties, released tens of thousands of political prisoners and took steps to open up one of Africa’s last untapped markets.

He is facing mounting international pressure over the conflict in the northern Tigray region and accusations from Human rights groups that his government is rolling back some new freedoms, which it denies.

Today’s elections will be the first test of voter support for Prime Minister Abiy’s government.

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