EU chief observer says Ethiopian poll was not fair

May 25, 2010

“The sheer volume and consistency of these complaints is a matter of concern,” Berman told journalists. “These shortcomings lead us to the conclusion that this electoral process falls short of certain international commitments.”

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch also had criticized Sunday’s vote, saying voters were told they could lose food assistance, public-sector jobs, loans and educational opportunities if they voted against the ruling party.

Ethiopian election officials said they witnessed no irregularities, and government spokesman Bereket Simon said the election was free and fair.

“It is sad to hear that while the election officials have said Ethiopians voted in a democratic way, Human Rights Watch, which has nothing to do with the election observation, is declaring our election fraudulent,” he said. “The people of Ethiopia have voted, and no one is going to take their vote away from them.”

An announcer at Tuesday’s rally read out slogans from signs held up by government supporters criticizing foreign rights groups. Some of the signs read: “We chose our leaders, accept the results” and “Stop second guessing us.”

The rally was called as provisional returns showed a victory for the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies. Final results will be announced in late June, officials have said.

Top opposition leader Hailu Shawel said the election results were not fair.

“The vote is 100 percent controlled by the ruling party,” Hailu said.

He also said that he suspected many of people who attended the rally were paid to do so and did not necessarily support the ruling party and its allies.

Sunday’s vote had been closely watched by international observers after the contentious 2005 election, in which the opposition won an unprecedented number of parliamentary seats only to endure police crackdowns and the killing of 193 demonstrators after the votes were counted.

The election board chairman said the ruling party had won 20 of the capital’s 23 parliamentary seats in Sunday’s vote, with only two left to report results in Addis Ababa. There are 546 assembly seats in all.

Analysts had predicted an easy win for the ruling party, led by Meles, a U.S. ally now poised to get five more years of power after he seized control in a 1991 coup.

Since the violent elections in 2005, the opposition and some analysts say the government has systematically stifled the competition, while limiting the media and restricting aid groups from working on human rights issues.

Ethiopia is frequently criticized for its human rights record, including by the U.S. State Department, which in a March report cited reports of “unlawful killings, torture, beating, abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces, often acting with evident impunity.”

Still, the U.S. considers Ethiopia an ally and provides billions of dollars in foreign aid. Both countries want to curb Islamist extremism in Somalia, Ethiopia’s unstable neighbor to the east.


5 comments on “EU chief observer says Ethiopian poll was not fair

  1. Although I am EPRDF’s supporter, I find winning with 99% result a bit troubling. Even 90% is too much in a country where there is a multi-party system.

  2. EPRDF’s stole Ethiopian sound!This is clearly seen by this Vote!rather than playing such dirty game with EPRDF,opposition party is better if stop comping in the future

  3. I am an Ethiopian from saudi arabia, what I feel sorry is Ethiopia is soverign country not this time even in the old time no one can’t make anything, they have to study the ethiopian history again and again !! win and loss is common in any election. Our opositions(party) have to understand the situation. You must not degrade the vote of the people.
    I feel shame for our oposition leaders, who complain their problems for foreiners rather than to actual people concern the matter. I will tell you the fact the false proffessor or Dr. for ever and ever has no chance for election, because the people understand whao you are !!!!!!!!!!
    shame for you, You are proffessor or Dr. Either in Veternary (animal doctor or geography )which has no any relation with politics !!!
    the money that you will get from diaspora must stop
    God bless Ethiopia

  4. What unfair world it is.Look, People of Ethiopia, nobody in this world cares about Ethipia’s poletics.It should be us who cares about our country.America, EU, china etc.All are moving with their own spesific intereset.Therefore,it is us who can bring change to that poor country.How do we change this cuontry:-start from the head(GOV)
    – Need to educate themselves
    -Need to learn from the socity & thier mistake
    -Need to respect the socity
    -Law should be made for the socity,”NOT FOR THE RULLING PARTY.
    Stop accumilating wealth,
    since life is short etc.
    These are the bigining

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