Ethiopia’s elections board wants to hold the Horn of Africa nation’s first multi-party vote in late May or early June after delaying the exercise due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Consultations with civil society organizations are ongoing to fix an exact date, according to Solyana Shimeles, a communications adviser to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia. The election in Africa’s second-most populous nation was initially scheduled for August.

“It is NEBE’s mandate to decide the election date based on the feedback it gets from different stakeholders,” she said.

Unrest has flared since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed began freeing up the country’s once tightly regulated political space when he came to power in April 2018. Abiy has given room for opposition parties and rebel groups to operate, which critics say has stoked fragmentation and long-suppressed rivalries among ethnic communities.

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