Ethiopia region conducts local elections in defiance of the Prime Minister

Tigre’s election came nearly two months after the nation’s biggest singer, a champion of the Oromo ethnic group, sparked deadly protests across the country following the assassination of lead singer Himchu Handsa, which has long held political and economic margins. Has complained to go. (Mr. Abi is also Oromo.) Hundreds of people died in the capital, Addis Ababa and the neighboring Oromia region, while businesses, schools and factories were burned. Authorities also shut down the Internet and arrested more than 9,000 people, according to the state-run Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. Many of those detained were arrested without charge, Human Rights Watch said.

Those arrested included journalists, activists and opposition figures, including Johar Mohammed, a media tycoon who is Oromo and who has become one of the prime critics of the prime minister.

Federal officials have so far stayed out of Tigray’s election. Mr. Abi said in a state television interview this week, “We are not going to raise our hands every time someone shouts.

But Mr Abi also warned regional officials that if they do not participate in the next national election, they would not have legitimacy.

The government also took steps to limit media coverage of the Tigray elections. Authorities on Monday barred some local and foreign journalists from traveling in the area, seizing their documents, laptops and phones at the airport.

From midnight on the eve of the election, long queues of people – from long queues to young student activists – began to line up in Tigray for a voting opportunity, voters and observers said in a telephone interview. The organizers marked the floor with chalk, so that voters could stand at some distance from each other. Health workers sprayed disinfectants to voters in white overalls. In many parts of the region, officials said that about 100 percent of registered voters had voted for hours before the polling stations were closed.

Nearly 2.7 million voters were expected to vote at 2,672 polling stations across the region, though voting numbers have not yet been announced. The Tigre People’s Liberation Front or TPLF, the dominant party of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, was expected to win by a majority of 190 seats.