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News: Ethiopia House of Federation officiates creation of new state in Southern Ethiopia

The House of Federation, led by Speaker Agegnehu Teshager received a report by Wubshet Ayele, Deputy Chairman of the National Election Board of Ethiopia. Photo: HoF

Addis Abeba – Members of the Ethiopian House of Federation (HoF) today passed a unanimous decision to approve the creation of a new regional state carved out of a cluster of six zones and five special woredas that were part of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) Regional State.

The new regional state called, “Southern Ethiopia Regional State”, will be the 12th regional state in Ethiopia, and the third new regional state to be created following a referendum conducted by the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) in the last four years.

NEBE held the referendum after local councils of several Zones and special woredas (districts) in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state passed resolutions last year in August to restructure and merge together in order to create a regional state, bringing the number of new regional states out of the exiting SNNP into three.

Although local council members of the Hadiya, Halaba, Kembata Tmbaro and Silte zones, as well as the Yem Special Woreda have also voted to restructure their respective administrative units to form a new regional state, it has since been shelved, and the zones will now remain part of what is left of the SNNP regional state.

Following today’s decision by the HoF therefore, six zones in SNNP: Konso, Gedeo, Gamo, Gofa, South Omo, and Wolayta zones, as well as five special Woredas: Amaro, Ale, Basketo, Burji and Derashe will be reorganized into a news regional state separate from the exiting SNNP.

Previous referendums held by the NEBE include a referendum on 23 November 2019 in which more than 2.3 million registered voters cast their votes that saw the creation of the Sidama regional state out of the SNNP region. Two years later, in October 2021, five zones and one special wereda comprising of Kaffa, Sheka, Bench Sheko, Dawuro and West Omo Zones, as well as the Konta Special woreda held a referendum to merge and create a new regional state, which has since become the Southwest Ethiopia People’s Regional State, becoming the second new regional state to be restructured out of the SNNP region.

As a result of today’s decision by the HoF to officiate the creation of the new state, what was formerly known as the SNNP regional state will come to an end, and instead be composed of four separate regional states: the existing SNNP Regional State itself; Sidama Regional State; Southwest Ethiopia People’s Regional State; and Southern Ethiopia Regional State. AS

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