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News: Council of opposition parties in Benishangul Gumuz region urge NEBE to hold delayed elections

Addis Abeba – The consolidated council of seven political parties in Benishangul Gumuz regional state submitted a request to the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) on Monday, 27 March, to hold elections in areas where the 6th national election did not take place in June 2021, NEBE confirmed to Addis Standard.

Following discussions over the past few weeks, seven opposition parties operating in the region have requested NEBE to make necessary preparations and set up election until June 7, Abdulsalam Shengel, chairman for the council who is also chairman of Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM) told the VOA.

He further mentioned the current ruling council in the region was elected in the 5th round of the national elections held in 2015 and its terms are expired. “It is legally inappropriate to rule the populace in the absence of an elected government” he noted.

The parties’ request yet to be seen by the board, and decision will be made, according to the board’s official who spoke to Addis Standard.

Elections did not take place in four constituencies in Benishangul Gumuz regional state namely, Metekel Constituency; Shinasha Special Election Region; Kamash constituency; and Dalit constituency. And out of the total 99 seats in the regional council, elections were held only in 28, which were all won by ruling prosperity party, but that doesn’t meet the minimum threshold required by regional constitution to form a government.

Yohannes Tessema, executive member of the council and head of Boro Democratic Party’s (BDP) political affairs, said that the regional state government has reached a peace agreement with the armed groups operating in the region and the security situation has improved significantly.

Similar calls were made earlier by the Boro Democratic Party (BDP) urging NEBE to conduct the delayed 6th National election saying that it has confirmed through inspection that it is possible to hold elections in the region.

Six months ago, the regional government and Gumuz People’s Democratic Movement (GPDM), a rebel group militarily active in the region, signed a peace agreement to resolve their differences “through dialogue.”

The regional government also signed a peace agreement on 10 December with Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM), an armed group that was operating in the border area of ​​the regional state, in Khartoum, Sudan.

Last week, the regional government released leaders and members of the two rebel groups, Gumuz People’s Democratic Movement (GPDM) and Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM), as a sequel of the peace accords. AS

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