ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia 

A total of 134,109 observers will monitor Ethiopia’s upcoming parliamentary polls, the country’s electoral authority said on Saturday.

The June 5 elections will see candidates of 47 political parties and 125 independent contenders vying for seats in the 547-member parliament and regional councils.

The observers will be deployed by 36 civil society organizations that have passed the accreditation process of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, local broadcaster Fana reported.

“The stakes are very high this time around as Ethiopia has been struggling with a democratic transition since 2018,” said a political analyst, who asked not to be named.

“Our nation cannot afford to fail in these elections, or chances are that political and social upheaval will ensue.”

Despite Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s vow to hold fair, credible, and free polls, there is still widespread apprehension among the public, given the jarring electoral violence Ethiopia has witnessed in the past.

“The violence after the 2005 elections, which claimed many lives and traumatized the entire nation, is still fresh in our collective psyche,” the analyst said.

“That kind of mayhem must never be repeated if we want Ethiopians to retain their trust in a democratic future.”

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