Ballot counting in Ethiopia as voting continues

Voting in Ethiopia is continuing in some parts of the country for a second day after challenges in some areas, while ballot counting has begun in most areas.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia chairperson Birtukan Mideksa said some constituencies and polling stations encountered problems, including shortages of ballot materials and “unjustified interventions” by local officials.

The voting was extended by three hours across the country on Monday because of logistical challenges. The board said voting would resume on Tuesday in some areas of eastern Ethiopia as well as in the western Oromia region.

In the Sidama region, voting was postponed until Tuesday after less than half the ballot papers arrived, the Reuters news agency reported.

Despite the difficulties, PM Abiy Ahmed praised the election as a historic day and the nation’s “first free and fair election”.

The PM has shared on Twitter pictures of Ethiopians queuing up to vote – which he said showed their commitment to the democratic process.

The election came amid rising ethnic tensions and conflict in the northern region of Tigray.

Voting did not take place in almost a fifth of the electoral areas – more than 100 of the 547 constituencies – including in the whole of Tigray.

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