ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region will head to the polls on Wednesday in defiance of the federal government, the latest challenge to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed from a slew of regional leaders flexing their muscles ahead of next year’s national elections.
Abiy has overseen sweeping democratic reforms since taking power in Africa’s second most populous nation two years ago. But the federal government – and major opposition parties – agreed to postpone national and regional elections due in August until the COVID-19 pandemic was under control.
Tigray, whose leaders dominated the previous administration and have often bitterly denounced Abiy, announced it would hold elections anyway.
“We know there is an open threat by Abiy to militarily intervene against Tigray and to cut funds, but we will still go ahead with the vote,” said Getachew Reda, a former federal information minister and now a spokesman for the Tigray