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NEBE instroduces two scenarios regarding upcoming elections

Addis Ababa, May 21, 2020 (FBC) – Electoral Board of Ethiopia has unveiled two scenarios regarding the upcoming election during its participation in the final hearing organized by the federal Constitutional Inquiry Council.

Deputy Chairperson of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, Wubshet Ayele, while presenting the two scenarios proposed recalled that the electoral board on March 31, 2020 announced the postponement of the national elections scheduled for August 29, 2020 because of the issues related coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The board has systematically evaluated the impacts posed by the pandemic and set response mechanisms to put speculations served as an input for the scenarios, the Deputy Chairperson said.

World Health Organization, Ministry of Health, Health Bureaus, medical workers and epidemiologists are taken as partners of the electoral board in the case of both scenarios, he said.

Wubshet said COVID 19 situations posed social and economic disruptions that directly impact the election process in terms of public participation and inclusiveness while explaining the scenarios.

Reduction of supports form international organizations due to coronaviurs global impact, additional expenditures to the board are taken in to considerations in the scenarios.

According to the first scenario, the electoral board can hold elections without further procedural amendments but it needs 60 days for general preoperational activities, 76 days to secure budget for educating the public, and 102 days for electoral campaign by competing parties.

He explained that the board needs more than 139 Million Birr or over 40 Million US Dollars for preparations in education, logistic and related works, and a total of 10 months for the whole pre election activities.

According to the second scenario, Post COVID 19 situations stipulate additional amendments in election proceedings and legal frameworks, and it may affects public participation in the voting process.

Since the pandemic continues and state of emergency is in effect, publication of electoral forms, electoral campaigns, registration, voting and vote counting durations may be elapsed in this regard, he said.

Improved Health guidelines and vote reorganization works are needed accordingly, he added.

Concerned public institutions which have a role in the election need additional 90 days to reorganize themselves in compliance with COVID 19 response, and it affects the election budget.

Each polling station shall register only 1000 voters so that the number of polling stations in the country will increase to 10,000, and additional 30, 000 election executives are needed.

Voting workers need additional protective materials.

Each polling station needs one additional individual in charge of health protocols so that the total number of election personnel increases from 180, 000 to 240,000.

Voters’ registration requires 55 days while candidates’ registration needs 21 days, and arties need 128 additional days for electoral campaigns based on the second scenario, Wubshed elaborated.

A total of 420, 000 individuals that need personal protection equipment and sanitizing materials are required for the election, he said adding that the voting should be completed within one day to reduce risks related to the spread of the pandemic.

Wubshet further underscored that 13 months of time and a budget of  2.5 Billion Birr or 73 Million US Dollars budget is need for the preparations for the upcoming postponed election according to the second scenario.

The board will receive recommendations from several stakeholders so that will improve its preparations accordingly, according to the Deputy Chairperson.

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