By Addis Getachew
Nearly 35 million Ethiopians have registered to vote nationwide in parliamentary polls slated for May 24, Ethiopia’s official electoral commission said Tuesday.
According to Wondimu Golla, deputy head of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), the number of registered voters in Ethiopia currently stands at 34.9 million.
The NEBE had planned on registering 35.8 million voters – out of 43 million Ethiopians of voting age, Golla told The Anadolu Agency.
“The number of people that have taken their ballots [i.e., registered to vote] constitutes 97 percent of the plan,” he said.
Golla noted that 48 percent of registered voters were female.
“Voter registration was held across the country, from Jan. 9 to Feb. 21,” he said. “Two days were added to allow registration of those who could not make it during the regular registration days.”
Golla said the registration process had been conducted at 45,500 stations across the country, in addition to makeshift booths for nomadic populations.
A total of 6,000 parliamentary candidates have been fielded by 58 political parties across the country, according to NEBE figures.
The next electoral milestone – canvassing by candidates – began two days ago, he said.
Political parties will be allowed to use state-owned media channels, in line with a set timetable for providing air time and newspaper space.
The upcoming parliamentary election will be Ethiopia’s fifth since the overthrow in 1991 of the Marxist Derg regime.
Elections are generally held every five years, according to Ethiopia’s constitution.