The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has said it is considering extending the voter registration deadline which is due to end on Friday.This was announced by the chairperson of the board Birtukan Midekissa on Thursday, a day before the registration exercise for the acquisition of voting cards for June’s election was supposed to end.
Birtukan hints at extending the exercise without specifying the duration, citing security fears as one of the major reasons for low voter registration turnout over the past one month.
The chairperson also cited delays in the opening of registration offices as another challenge that had affected the registration exercise.
Birtukan’s announcement came during a special meeting chaired by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who held talks on the election process with regional presidents and mayors.
Voter registration for Ethiopia’s sixth general election has been underway for several days.
As it turns out, the number of registered voters is lower than expected.
With only one day left for the deadline, some opposition party leaders have been calling for an extension.
“It is difficult to say an election is organized if the voter registration is low,” the chairman of the opposition Ethiopian Social Democratic Party, Professor Beyene Petros told local media.
Indicating that the NEBE itself is aware of the situation, he said an extension of the registration was necessary.
Girma Seifu who is executive committee member of Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (EZEMA) said there were reports that polling stations outside of Addis Ababa did not open due to security fears.
Seifu said this means that no voter registration took place, making an extension of the exercise mandatory.