ADDIS ABABA, May 23, 2005 (Xinhua) — The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was leading the general elections with 74 seats it secured, according to preliminary results released Monday by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).
NEBE said in a statement it has received preliminary results of over 130 constituencies and preliminary results of 121 constituencies have already been registered in the board’s database after a thorough scrutiny.
The results were dispatched from constituencies in the Afar, Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and the South Ethiopia People’s states as well as the city of Dire Dawa, it said.
Opposition parties were following the ruling party with cumulative results they obtained in 43 constituencies.
Accordingly, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) was following the EPRDF with 23 and 14 constituencies it won in the capital Addis Ababa and other states, respectively, which would enable it get 37 seats.
The EPRDF, which has conceded losing all 23 parliamentary seats in Addis Ababa and all seats in the city council, said it would hand over administrative authority to the opposition under an unspecified but set timetable.
The United Ethiopian Democratic Forces managed four constituencies while the Afar National Democratic Party secured two constituencies, with two constituencies going to the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement.
The preliminary results would be added up with results of higher learning institutions to be officially announced by NEBE on June 8.
As both ruling and opposition parties have been claiming victory based on projections from tallies drawn up by party monitors at individual polling stations at which results have been posted, analysts said NEBE may have felt pressure to start releasing results because tensions have been raised by conflicting claims from the parties.
CUD threatened Monday to boycott the next session of parliament unless its complaints of widespread vote fraud in last week’s general elections are resolved.
With preliminary official returns from only a fraction of the country’s 547 constituencies announced by election authorities more than a week after the polls, the opposition also urged the Ethiopian people to prepare to peacefully protest any attempt to whitewash their complaints.
Ethiopians went to poll on May 15 in the country’s two separate elections to elect representatives to the 547-seat House of People ‘ s Representatives (HPR) and eight regional councils. Elections in southeastern Somali state will take place in August.
Ethiopia’s has a two-house parliament: the 110-seat upper House of the Federation and the 547-seat lower House of People’s Representatives.