Ethiopia’s postponed elections: governing in the interregnum
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Image credit: Office of the Prime Minister@Flickr.

Image credit: Office of the Prime Minister@Flickr. 

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this commentary are those of the staff member. This commentary is independent of specific national or political interests. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the institutional position of International IDEA, its Board of Advisers or its Council of Member States.


The COVID-19 Pandemic has its first electoral casualty in Africa after Ethiopia announced the indefinite postponement of preparations for general elections for members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (parliament) and Regional Legislative Councils, originally slotted for 29 August 2020.

Ethiopia’s 2020 elections are expected to be the most free, fair and competitive since the ill-fated 2005 elections, which ended with a post-election violence, the detention or exile of opposition leaders and journalists, and overall cementing of authoritarianism.

There is hope, but also anxiety that the 2020 elections may similarly herald in a combination of authoritarianism and worsening of lawlessness and instability.


A welcome postponement

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the timing of the Ethiopian elections was more a consequence of a constitutionally fixed five-year parliamentary term than...


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About the Author

Programme Officer
Adem Kassie Abebe

Adem Kassie Abebe supports constitution-building processes around the world, and designs and implements projects particularly in transitions to peace and democracy in politically complex and fragile contexts. He convens platforms for dialogue, advises and provides technical assistance to high level constitution and decision makers at national and international levels and to civil society stakeholders. He was an editor of and managed ConstitutionNet from 2016 to 2021, an online platform providing continuous updates on comparative constitutional reform processes around the world. A notable feature of ConstitutionNet is 'Voices from the Field', a series in which local experts provide analysis and updates on the process, content and principal actors in ongoing constitutional-reform proposals.