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Ethiopia: Opposition party rejects election results

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

May 30, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – One of Ethiopia’s main opposition, Semeyawi (Blue) party rejected both the election process and the preliminary results issued on Wednesday from Sunday’s parliamentary election.

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A woman casts her vote in Ethiopia’s general election in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday, May 24, 2015. (AP Photo)

“The Blue Party does not accept the process as free and fair and does not accept the outcome of unhealthy and undemocratic elections,” the opposition party said in a statement it issued on Friday.

Partial results announced by the country’s National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) showed that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party and its allied regional political organizations have so far won 442 seats declared out of the 547-seat parliament.

“This 100 percent win by the regime is a message of disgrace," stressed the statement, adding that the sweeping victory was an indication that a "multi-party system is over in Ethiopia”.

The youngest Ethiopian political force which participated at national elections for the first time, accused the ruling party of using authoritarian tactics to guarantee victory.

The Blue Party’s spokesperson, Yonatan Tesfaye said that candidates were denied for registration and some others were illegally cancelled by the Election Board after they were registered.

Tesfaye claimed that some 200 party candidates were denied the right to stand for parliament and 52 party members and many other supporters were arrested in the run-up to the polls.

“The security forces and cadres of EPRDF continued in harassing, beating, arresting and some cases killing candidates and potential observers of opposition parties without any valid reasons and the order of courts,” he said.

"We don’t think there is an independent justice system to deal with our complaints. We’ll continue our peaceful struggle," the spokesperson concluded.

Over 90 % of the total registered 36.8 million people have cast their votes on Sunday’s national elections; the country’s first since Ethiopia’s long-time ruler Meles Zenawi, died in office in 2012.

Final election results will be announced on June 22.

The African Union (AU) observers’ mission, the only monitoring group deployed to oversee the election process has said that Ethiopia’s Sunday general elections were “credible” and in line with African Union standards.

“The Ethiopian Parliamentary elections were generally consistent with the AU guidelines on the conduct of elections in Africa,” said former Namibian president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, in an initial report he issued on Tuesday.

The European Union on Wednesday has also expressed satisfaction at the conclusion of the “largely peaceful and orderly" election process and commended the hard work exerted by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia

According to the state-run Ethiopia Broadcasting corporation (EBC), the EU took note of the preliminary statement of the African Union Election Observation Mission, including the areas for further improvement identified by the Mission.

The AU added the electoral process was discussed in the framework of the EU-Ethiopia political dialogue with the Government and with the main political actors involved.

(ST)

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