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Ethiopia commits public Medias to election campaigners

By Tesfa Alem Tekle

February 12, 2010 (ADDIS ABEBA) — Some 45 political rivals running up for Ethiopia‘s May election will officially launch their campaigns via public mass Medias beginning on Monday next week, based on media air time and news paper space allotted. State Broadcast authority disclosed.

The air time table allocation draw was made yesterday in the presence of contesting political parties.

Speaking at the draw ceremony, authority director General Desta Asfaw said that public mass Medias more than ever would be highly committed to serve contesting parties as parts of nation’s commitment to make the upcoming national election fair, democratic and credible.

With Ethiopia’s national election few months away to go, Ethiopian officials have repeatedly stated that government will remain committed to conduct a democratic and fair election and said will make sure mistake like one from 2005 are not repeated. The 2010 polls will be the first for the horn of Africa’s nation since 2005, where post-election violence sparked by allegations of vote rigging claimed the lives of some 200 protesters.

The media access will allow running political parties to connect with the public in promoting their future policy options and other political programs. Authority director General Desta Asfaw added.

A total of 495 hours of radio, 76 hours of television air time and 849 columns of news paper space are allocated for election campaigns.

According to the State broadcast authority, 25% of the total time allocated for campaigning will be equally shared among all contesting political parties .55% would be allocated based on the number of seats parties hold in regional and Federal parliament.

The total number of the candidates the parties filed in to federal parliament and regional council will decide onto the remaining 20% time allocation.

Mean while the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) said on Friday that Nearly 25 million eligible voters across nation have taken voters ID card since registration began earlier in January.

An average of one million voters are being registered daily and now 6 days to dead line, if the registration continues at the current pace, the total number of voters nationwide could hit 32 million, higher than expected, NEBE said

(ST)

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