Ethiopia’s national elections will draw in voters from seven of 10 semi-autonomous regions, highlighting the country’s rich history and striking diversity.
The regional system dates back to the early 1990s and was designed to allow for ethnic self-rule.
From the mountains of northern Tigray to the savannah of Ethiopia’s south, the regions feature distinct landscapes and languages — and their own tensions that will shape the outcome of balloting.
Here is a look at some of the key Ethiopian states:
– Oromia –
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who hopes the elections will deliver him a popular mandate, is the first Ethiopian leader to hail from the most populous region, Oromia.
He assumed the office in 2018 on the back of several years of anti-government protests led by ethnic Oromo youth denouncing perceived economic and political marginalisation.
But while protesters cheered Abiy’s appointment, Oromia remains as restive as ever.