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News Alert: Ethiopia gets eleventh state with more than 96% approval for South West referendum

A voter casting her ballot in one of the zones that voted for SW referendum. Picture: NEBE

By Addis Standard Staff

Addis Abeba, October 9/2021– The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) today announced the results of the South West referendum revealing that majority of voters have voted in favor of the formation of the new regional state that comprises Kaffa, Sheka, Bench Sheko, Dawuro and West Omo Zones, as well as Konta Special district.

 

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At a press conference held this afternoon, the deputy chairperson of the board, Woubshet Ayele, said that 93.9 percent of registered voters cast their votes. A total of 1,344,622 people were registered to vote, according to him, out of which 1,262,679 participated in the elections. Majority of voters, 1,221,092 people voted in favor of the formation of the new regional state in which the results will be presented to the House of Federations, Wubshet said.

The twice postponed South West referendum finally took place of September 30, 2021 where the councils of Kaffa, Sheka, Bench Sheko, Dawuro and West Omo Zones, as well as Konta Special district decided to form the South West regional state separate from the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Regional State (SNNPR) where they are currently being administered.

In June, the NEBE decided to postpone the referendum as well as the 6th national election after discovering a defect in ballot papers and due to security problems as well. On June 4, Two weeks before the referendum was set to take place six security forces were killed and dozens of civilians were displaced from Guraferda Woreda of Bench Sheko zone, one of the zones where the referendum was held.

The postponement was not welcomed by the The South West Regional State referendum Organizing Committee where the executive members of the referendum organizing committee held an emergency meeting in Addis Abeba and concluded that the Board’s decision did not take into account the situation on the ground.

The House of Federations unanimously approved five zonal administrations and one special district in the SNNPR to create a separate regional state in October last year. The new regional state will be the 11th regional state to join the federation. AS

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