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Ethiopia opposition leaders call for new elections

May 26, 2010

merara_gudina

Dr Merara

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.

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3 comments on “Ethiopia opposition leaders call for new elections

  1. Rerun of the election should be only in the areas where problems are reported. For instance, MEDREK should accept the result in Addis Ababa and Tigray region because I assume both area were the focus of independent obsrvers and there would be little chance for vote rigging. Saying that, I am surprised by MEDREK’s result in Addis Ababa. I think it is too much for MEDREK to get such a result as they were very week in presenting their alternative policy. Additionaly, how long the coalition will continue is not known for sure. I would be surprised if the coaltion survive six months without any infighting.

  2. According to reports Medrek is second in Addis Ababa in number of votes, next to the ruling party. How about the overall result from the thousands of polling staions? I ask this because BBC’s assertion that MEDREK is the main challanger seems to be erroneous.

  3. The government is acting as government and as EPRDF as the same time even before the final result from NEBE. Governemnt officials should not respond about the vote rigging in favour of the ruling party. It is the responsibility of the election board to talk about that matter.

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