The Ethiopian Constitution of 1995 and other parliamentary proclamations have a provision on the right to self-determination, secession for nations, nationalities and peoples. The Constitution further indicates that for a referendum to be conducted, the request must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council of the Nation, Nationality or People concerned, and the demand is presented in writing to the State Council; after this it is sent to NEBE for ratification and a referendum held within a year. The South Ethiopia referendum was the third to be conducted by NEBE since 2018. The first one was the Sidama referendum held in 2019 and the second was the South West Regions referendum held in 2021.

The South referendum was occasioned by the petitioning to the Zonal and special woreda councils of the Six zones and five special woredas by the Committee of Peace Ambassadors, a committee established by the Prime minister to come up with a recommendation for the growing demand for statehood in SNNP region, and consequently, to the House of Federations, which accepted and instructed NEBE to conduct a referendum. NEBE set out February 6, 2023, as the referendum date.

In line with this, CECOE prepared and observed the referendum processes from a holistic perspective by observing the pre-referendum general political environment as well as voter registration, referendum voting day and the post-referendum period. The following section summarizes the major findings of each observation.

Final observation Report on the SER and the Referendum Rerun in the Wolaita Zone.pdfDownload