ADDIS ABABA - More than 37 million voters re eligible to cast ballots at polling stations across Ethiopia Monday in a pivotal election in Africa's second-most populous nation.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's ruling Prosperity Party is fielding the most candidates and is expected to win the most seats in parliament. The 44-year-old prime minister, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for implementing democratic and economic reforms in the country and a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea, has said the vote is Ethiopia's "first attempt at free and fair elections."
But the election is marred by a boycott of some prominent opposition parties that accuse the ruling party of harassment and intimidation and continued conflict in the country's northern Tigray region, where government troops have been fighting forces loyal to the region's former governing party since last November.
The war has created a humanitarian crisis in Tigray, with some 350,000 people facing famine, according to the United Nations.
No date has been set for voting in the Tigray region, which has 38 parliamentary representatives.
A second round of voting will take place in September.