The Coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations for Elections (CECOE) successfully observed the referendum that was held on 6 February 2023 in the six zones and five special woredas of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR). In a bid to systematically observe the referendum, the CECOE recruited, trained and deployed 434 stationary and 76 mobile observers. The stationary observers were present to observe all the election processes at their assigned polling stations until the results were announced while the mobile observers were visiting a number of polling stations to observe the processes. 

As part of its efforts to set an exemplary referendum observation system in Ethiopia, CECOE established a Referendum Situation Room (RSR) in which it received and analyzed referendum observation data sent via text from observers. On the voting day, the observers, who went through meticulous training on referendum observation and reporting, were sending observation data to the RSR since 5 A.M. Data clerks working at the data center in Addis Ababa were also receiving, organizing and analyzing the received data..The received observation data was analyzed using Apollo software and the findings were communicated to media outlets, members and partners as the voting process was underway. 

Apollo is an application for collecting, organizing, and analyzing a large number of responses to a given set of questions, and provides the tools to do all these things. It allows users to upload information,  organize and label responses, such as details about who will be sending in the data and where they will be located. Each person sending in data will do so by using SMS, directly into a web interface, or through one of several smartphone apps. The software identifies senders using a unique ID that has been assigned to them. It also aggregates all of the data to provide analysis and summaries of data received such as averages and other statistics related information.. 

Read the preliminary statement at  


It is to be recalled that in August 2022 the House of Federation had given green light for 6 zones and 5 woredas that were under the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR) to hold a referendum and establish a new region, if supported by the inhabitants. The other zones and special woredas, namely Hadiya Zone, Hallaba Zone, Kenbata Tenbaro Zone, Gurage Zone, Silte Zone and Yem Special Woreda, would remain in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, it further decided. Reports from the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) show that a total of 2, 934,143 people have registered to vote in this referendum.