The European Center for Electoral Support (ECES), through funding from Danish and Irish embassies, has been supporting the Coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations for Election – CECOE, as part of ensuring the credibility of the referendum that has been held on February 6/2023 at six zones and special Woredas in the Southern region of Ethiopia. CECOE is one of the four CSOs NEBE had accredited to carry out observation of the process from voters’ registration to voting day.
For this task, CECOE had recruited, trained and deployed 434 stationary and 76 mobile observers in selected polling stations in the areas where voting has been held. In order to follow up reports from the observers from the field, it had setup a situation room at the ECES working place – at the HUB Hotel, Addis Ababa. The situation room is visited by representatives of the donor countries and other international partners.
On the afternoon of the voting day (February 06), CECOE has held a press briefing after it has collected sufficient data from the observers in the field and also issued a preliminary statement. In this report, it has reported that, observers had no problem of accessing the polling stations and voting has started in majority of polling stations between 06:00-09:00 AM, and polling stations are set up in places permitted under the electoral law except in one instance which occurred in the South Omo Zone, Jinka town where a polling station was established in a private residence, and most of the polling stations(96%) are accessible for persons with disabilities, and polling materials have been delivered to polling stations except in two where reconciliations results forms are missed.
Once the observers reports are completed, CECOE has planned to release a full statement on the referendum.