The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has released the preliminary results of the referendum held for the statehood of Sidama zone.
The residents opted for the formation of the new regional state in the referendum conducted on 20 November 2019 across the Sidama zone, according to the Board.
The result was 98.51% in favour of the formation of a new regional state, it said.
About 2.3 million people voted in the referendum seen as free, democratic, and peaceful.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the referendum was peaceful.
“Despite a compressed time period for the elections and tense political environment in the country, the Sidama referendum held on 20 November 2019 across the Sidama zone was peaceful and no major critical incident reported on polling day,” it said.
“In several polling stations, people patiently waited for long hours to participate in a historic vote to decide whether Sidama should become the newest regional state (represented by the “Shaffetta” symbol) or remain as part of the Southern regional state(represented by the “Gojo” symbol).
EHRC 20-member human rights monitoring team for the Sidama referendum was led by Dr Daniel Bekele, Chief Commissioner of EHRC.