Explainer: Ethiopia’s 2021 Elections

Ethiopia’s 2021 elections

(Chathamhouse)—Abel Abate Demissie summarises the election landscape in Ethiopia ahead of the polls scheduled for 21 June 2021. He provides his perspective on the current context and likely outcome, and the impact of this election on Ethiopia’s international relations. Ethiopia is expected to hold the first round of its national elections on 21 June 2021, amid growing internal unrest and a catastrophic conflict in the Tigray region. The government hopes that a new electoral mandate will give them the authority needed to pursue their reform agenda, including drafting a new constitution and potentially redrawing regional state borders.
 
Elections originally scheduled for August 2020, were postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently due to logistical challenges and rising insecurity. Voting will be delayed still further across huge areas of the country, including Tigray, and important opposition parties are boycotting. Observers fear that poorly run elections will worsen Ethiopia’s divides rather than heal them.