Since 2018, more than 10 Zones in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPR) have submitted their claims for a separate regional statehood. The Sidama and Southwest Ethiopia Peoples’ regions secured regional statehoods status following the November 2019 and September 2021 referendums respectively. 

On August 18, 2022, six zones and five special woredas in the SNNPR received approval from their respective councils to form a region. The House of  Federation (HoF) then instructed the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to prepare for  a referendum in the named zones and special woredas   listed below. On February 6, 2023, NEBE held a referendum in the six zones (Konso, South Omo, Wolayta, Gamo, Gedeo, and Gofa) and the five special woredas (Burji, Basketo, Ale, Amaro, and Derashe) of the SNNPR. CECOE observed the referendum by recruiting, training, and deploying 434 stationary and 76 mobile observers in the Six zones and five special woredas. The NEBE, however, annulled the referendum results in the Wolaita zone, citing breaches of the electoral law. Consequently, the NEBE had announced its decision and informed key stakeholders that a referendum rerun was scheduled to take place on June 19, 2023. CECOE started to prepare for observing the rerun of the referendum by coordinating with six member organisations that recruited about 190 observers from nearby zones. However, CECOE trained and deployed 118 stationary and 28 mobile observers on the day of the referendum. 

Referendum Rerun in Wolaita Zone - CECOE Preliminary Report _ June 2023 - Google Docs.pdfDownload