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Ethiopia’s ruling party celebrates electoral victory

May 25, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ten of thousands of the ruling EPRDF party members and supporters on Tuesday rallied nationwide; to celebrate landslide victory and simultaneously to denounce Human rights watch report on the country, Sunday’s election.

Meles Zenawi (C) waves to supporters of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa May 25, 2010 (Reuters)
Meles Zenawi (C) waves to supporters of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa May 25, 2010 (Reuters)
In the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where unlike in the previous election the ruling party swept all votes, tens of thousands of EPRDF supporters gathered this morning at the main Meskel square to celebrate its victory in the national election, which a U.S. rights group (HRW) claimed vote-rigging.

Similar rallies were also held in the country’s main cities. In the northern Tigray region’s Mekelle town, the grassroots of the ruling party, over 100,000 supporters gathered in the town’s stadium criticizing HRW report as foreign interference to the sovereign nation and urging such external forces “stop attempts to dictate us”.

While Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrived at Meskel square, he was welcomed by a huge crowd of supporters wearing ruling party T-shirts, applauding, waving flags, waving their hands and calling loud his name.

Making a victory speech Meles zenawi who said “no human life should be lost in the name of election” called on opposition groups to respect the votes of the electorate and to abide by the law of the country.

“The Ethiopian government respects verdict of the people. However it doesn’t want to be forced in to the business of hunting down people who are committing crimes in the name of election,” Meles zenawi said with hundreds of federal police stood guard.

Meles accused the opposition forces of acting against the election code of conduct and appealed them not to push the government to take measures against them.

“On behalf of the electorate, I hereby would like to appeal to these opposition groups to refrain from such illegal acts and to respect the law of the land,” he added.

During the occasion, led by a stage announcer the crowd was heard shouting slogans criticizing foreign rights groups. Among others the slogans read out – “We chose our leaders” “accept the results” and “Stop second guessing us.”

Others slogans include “Respect out vote, respect our decision, respect our choice.”

Following Human right watch report, the Ethiopian government has strongly condemned the allegation saying an” intrusion on the decision of the Ethiopian people aimed to instigate violence against the active and massive participation of the public in the historic election”

In a statement issued yesterday, the Ethiopian Government urged the Human Rights Watch to refrain from interference on the decision and will of the Ethiopian people.

“This national election is only an Ethiopian affair instrumental to ensuring the sovereignty of Ethiopians not for outsiders,” the statement said; adding “the US based HRW and its cliques are trying to forcefully twist leaders as they have been doing in the past under the disguise of support as Africans are aid recipients”.

Over 85 % of the total votes counted, so far results showed that the EPRDF and its allies are leading in the nine regions that have reported results, out of a total of 11.

According to electoral board of Ethiopia Final results will be announced late in June.

(ST)