Addis Ababa, Aug 19 (IANS): Ethiopia's House of Federation, or the upper house of Parliament, has approved a resolution to hold a referendum on the creation of the East African country's 12th region.
In a statement, the House of Federation said the resolution was approved after authorities in six zones and five districts that are currently under the Southern region filed a petition for the formation of a new region, reports Xinhua news agency.
The House of Federation said the petition was received from Wolayita, Gamo, Gofa, South Omo, Gedeo and Konso zones as well as from Derashe, Amaro, Burji, Alle and Basketo special districts.
"The resolution aims to help continue the democratic development, strengthen multicultural unity, ensure sustainable peace and build a healthy federal government system," the House of Federation statement said.
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia is expected to organise the referendum in the coming few months.
Last year, nearly 97 per cent of voters in a local referendum approved a proposal to create Ethiopia's 11th region, named South-West region.
The referendum vote to create a new regional state was held in five zones and one special locality, all previously located in Ethiopia's Southern region.
Ethiopia currently has 11 regions.
Over the years, several ethnic groups in the country have been campaigning to create their own regions, occasionally sparking fears of political instability in the East African country.