Ethiopia opposition leaders call for new elections
Ethiopia’s opposition leaders have called for a rerun of Sunday’s elections, saying they were not free and fair.
Head of the main opposition coalition Merera Gudina said he will not accept the results, which gave Prime Minister Meles Zenawi a landslide victory.
The EU and US have both criticised the elections, saying they fell short of international standards.
Government officials have denied charges of rigging.
Mr Merera, who is chairman of the Medrek coalition of eight main opposition parties, has called for a new election, reports the AFP news agency.
Earlier, another opposition leader Hailu Shawel had also called for a rerun of the elections, in which 499 out of 536 seats declared so far have been awarded to the governing party.
According to the official results, Medrek – which had been seen as the main challenger to Mr Zenawi’s party – has only won a single seat.
Ethiopia’s last elections, in 2005, were marred by violent protests over alleged fraud which left about 200 people dead.
At that time, Mr Shawel was leader of the opposition coalition and was jailed, along with several other opposition leaders, for his role in the protests.
Most of those jailed were later pardoned, although one opposition leader remains in prison.
Mr Meles – who has been in power since 1991 – put Sunday’s election win down to an impressive track record, especially when it comes to economic growth.
The government has worked hard to improve infrastructure, especially in the urban areas, and social services such as healthcare have become more accessible.