The Coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations for Elections (CECOE) was established in 2019 to augment and coordinate Ethiopian CSOs' role in election observation – monitoring, voter education, and preventing post-electoral conflicts. Following its establishment, the CECOE opened a new chapter in the country’s CSO sector by systematically observing the Sidama Referendum in the same year of the coalition’s establishment. Building upon this experience, during the Sixth National and Regional Elections of Ethiopia, CECOE recruited and deployed over 3,500 long-term and short-term observers to nine Regional States and two City Administrations in the June and September 2021 elections as well as the South West Ethiopia Referendum for a status of statehood. Furthermore, CECOE has also successfully observed the referendum held in the six zones and five special woredas of the former Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) in February 2023 and the Wolaita referendum re-run on June 19, 2023.
Recognizing the critical importance of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia for the democratization process in Ethiopia, and the appointment of a new Chairperson for NEBE, CECOE has closely monitored the nomination, selection, and appointment processes.
This report offers a detailed examination of the nomination, selection, and appointment process for the new Chairperson of the NEBE, and its compliance with the existing legal framework based on media reports and press releases by the nomination committee on the process. while emphasizing key requirements such as transparency, inclusivity, and participation. This report also provides concrete recommendations to enhance future appointment processes, aiming to uphold democratic principles, foster public trust in the electoral system and the NEBE, and contribute to an open and informed public discourse surrounding the nomination, selection, and appointment of the new NEBE Chairperson. This will contribute to ensuring the integrity and legitimacy of future elections in Ethiopia.