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News: Over three million people expected to vote in referendum to form Ethiopia’s 12th regional state

Ristu Yirdaw, President of the SNNP regional state, assured the NEBE that the regional state will safeguard the safe conduct of the upcoming referendum the outcome of which may give birth to the third separate regional state out of the SNNP. Photo: NEBE

Addis Ababa: National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) says more than three million people are expected to vote in a referendum to be held in six zones and five special districts of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state on a vote to decide to form their own separate regional state.

NEBE said on Thursday that it has been granted 410.1 million birr out of total budget of 541.3 million birr requested to organize the referendum. Adding that registration for the election will last for 15 days.

In August the Electoral Board announced that it has accepted a request by Ethiopia’s House of Federation to organize a referendum in the six zones namely, Wolayita, Gamo, Gofa, South Omo, Gedeo, Konso as well as five special districts Derashe, Amaro, Burji, Ale and Basketo special of the SNNP region. If voted by the majority the referendum which is set to be held on 06 February 2023 will see the formation of 12th regional state of Ethiopia.

The referendum will be the third similar referendum by the NEBE after it held the first on 23 November 2019 in which more than 2.3 million registered voters, cast their votes in 1,692 polling stations that saw the creation of a new Sidama regional state out of the SNNP region.

Two years later, in October 2021, five zones and one special district comprising Kaffa, Sheka, Bench Sheko, Dawuro and West Omo Zones, and Konta Special district held a referendum to merge and create a new regional state, Southwest Ethiopia People’s Regional State, becoming the second new regional state out of SNNP region.

Arba Minch city has been designated by NEBE to be the coordination center of the referendum which 18,885 people will be engaged to facilitate the implementation. According to NEBE the results will be announced to the public on 15 February. AS

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