Ethiopia: Election Preparedness - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRET025

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Ethiopia enters its 2021 election process in midst of an increasingly political, security and humanitarian context. The multi-faceted and polarized situation increases the susceptibility for outbreaks of election-related violence, before, during and after the elections. It is therefore imperative that the authorities and partner organizations are prepared for such an eventuality; and put in place measures to allow them to bring efficient and effective assistance if it is required. The election is on 5 June 2021 and historically the critical period is in the 14 days before, and 7 days after the election date (based on analysis of previous election periods in the country).

Ethiopia has experienced multiple and consecutive crises in the last three years which have aggravated the humanitarian needs in the country. The country was recovering from civil unrest and violence which resulted in the movement of more than 1.8 million people, and led to the resignation of then then Prime Minister in 2018.

The situation has been compounded in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, desert locust invasion, floods, malaria and cholera epidemic, drought, and civil unrest. The latest armed violence in Tigray region, which began in November 2020 has also exacerbated the protracted and recurrent emergency humanitarian situation across Ethiopia. Many other regions are also affected by boundary, ethnic and strategic resource-related clashes, including Afar, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, SNNPR (Southern Nation Nationalitieps Peoples Region) and Somali regions. The Federal Government and security forces are engaged in restoring peace and order in various parts of the country while the impact of COVID-19 has been increasingly felt by the population, with surges in cases over the past months.

Ethiopia has undergone political leadership changes in 2018, after the resignation of the Prime Minister. Since then, the political structure of the country has been characterised by its fluidity – with the ruling coalition Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (UPRDF) dissolved and replaced as the Prosperity Party through a parliamentary process which has changed the political landscape and resulted in the formation of emerging political alliances.

The new political formation has resulted in a splintering of community politicians and activists. In June 2020, after the anonymous killing of a famous Ethiopian singer and activist, civil unrest ensued which resulted in injuries, loss of life, destruction of property and the displacement of thousands of peoples. Consequentially many politicians were also arrested and remain in custody undergoing legal processes.

The 6th multiparty general elections in Ethiopia were planned to be conducted in September 2020 but were postponed to June 2021 due to COVID-19. The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that voting for the general elections would be conducted on 5 June 2021 for all regions, with exception of Tigray as well as those involved in a referendum in southwest Ethiopia. This is a referendum for regional statehood by the Kaffa, Sheka, Bench Sheko, Dawuro and West Omo Zones, and Konta special district, which are currently under SNNPR. The general election result will be announced on the same day of voting (5 June 21). The voting day for Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa city elections is scheduled on 12 June 2021, with results announced on 12 and 13 June 2021. The election result announcement will be continued at constituency level between 6 and 10 June for general election and between 13 and 18 for Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.