Nov. 20, 2019 Postponed


General Information

At Stake in this Referendum:       

  • Referendum results will determine the future of Sidama zone and whether it can become an autonomous region.

Government Structure:

  • Chief of State: President Sahle-Work ZEWDE
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Abiy AHMED
  • Assembly: Ethiopia has a bicameral Federal Parliamentary Assembly consisting of the House of Federation (Yefedereshein Mekir Bete) with 112 seats and the House of Peoples’ Representatives (Yehizb Tewokayoch Mekir Bete) with 547 seats. 

Electoral Requirements:

  • Ethiopia’s federal constitution requires the authorities to organize a referendum within a year of the statehood request being made.

About the Referendum

  • Ethiopia’s nine regional states enjoy a level of autonomy to choose their official language and have limited powers over taxation, education, health and land administration.
  • Through the Sidama referendum, residents of Sidama will vote to decide whether the Sidama zone, currently subsumed into the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR), will be transformed into a regional state. The largest in population of the 56 ethnic groups in the SNNPR, the Sidama people have been demanding recognition as a separate regional state since July 2018.
  • The referendum was initially scheduled to take place on November 13 but was re-scheduled for November 20, 2019 due to challenges with poll worker recruitment, delayed finalization of the list of neighborhoods where polling will be held and the required legal and administrative frameworks. 

Population and Registered Voters:

  • Population: 112,079,000 (2019 est.)[1]
  • Registered Voters: 36,851,461 (2015 est.)[2]

Gender Data:

  • Female Population: 56,010,000 (2019 est.)[3]
  • Is Ethiopia a signatory to CEDAW: Yes (8 July 1980)[4]
  • Has Ethiopia ratified CEDAW: Yes (10 September 1981)[5]
  • Gender Quota: No[6]
  • Female Candidates in this election: N/A
  • Number of Female Legislators: 212 (38.8%)[7]
  • Human Development Index (HDI) Position: 173[8]
  • Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Categorization: Low[9]

Disability Data:

  • Is Ethiopia a signatory to CRPD: Yes (30 March 2007)[10]
  • Has Ethiopia ratified CRPD: Yes (7 July 2010)[11]
  • Population with a disability: 14,919,873 (est.)[12]
Election Modified: Jun 21, 2024