Ethiopians in the south of the country have voted almost unanimously to have their own state, part of a push for increased autonomy that’s intensified since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018.
South West will become Ethiopia’s 11th state after 1.26 million Ethiopians in six zones and one locality took part in a Sept. 30 referendum.
About 98 percent of them voted in favor of having their own regional constitution and council, according to Wubshet Ayele, vice chair of the National Election Board of Ethiopia.
The referendum has paved the way for the creation of a second regional state since 2018, after the Sidama people also voted for more autonomy in 2019. Three more zonal councils are waiting to hold referendums.