By Giulia Paravicini
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The regional ruling Tigray’s People Liberation Front have won elections in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, the election commission announced on Friday, as a showdown loomed between the region and the federal government.
Muluwork Kidanemariam, head of the regional electoral commission, said he would announce the breakdown of results shortly.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had denounced the polls, which were held on Wednesday despite a government directive postponing regional and national elections until at least next year.
Tigrayan leaders, who dominated the last administration, have accused Abiy of trying to illegally extend his time as leader of Africa’s second-most populous nation.
The confrontation with Tigray is the latest headache for Abiy, who is struggling to hold together a fractious federation that stitches Ethiopia’s over 80 ethnic groups.
Abiy has not specified how he will respond to Tigray’s polls, although he has ruled out using force.
Reporting by Giulia Paravicini; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Jon Boyle and Timothy Heritage