Ethiopians celebrate landslide win ruling party

Posted on May 25, 2010

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In Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Abeba, tens of thousands of ruling party supporters celebrated a landslide victory in the fourth national elections which opposition parties dismissed as “fraudulous”.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has been ruling the East African country since 1991, attended the celebration thanking his electorate and promising them to take care of all Ethiopians in the next five year including those who supported the opposition.

Respect our vote

The demonstration organized by the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was also used to express anger about “mingling in internal affairs” by “certain western parties”.

Ruling party supporters aimed their protest at Human Rights Watch (HRW). The New York-based institution released a report yesterday saying the elections were unfair because the EPRDF used repression and restricted freedom of expression during the election campaign.

“HRW wants to dictate us which government to choose. Preferably one that listens to their specific wishes,” EPRDF supporter Habte Abraham, a science teacher, denounced the accusations, holding a sign that said: “respect our vote!”

Belaynesh Welde, manager at an administration office, agreed with him. “It’s just against their interest to see that we had free elections and that we voted massively in support of our government party,” she said.

“Ethiopia is a free country. Nobody has ever been able to colonize us and even today we will not tolerate anyone from outside to tell us what to do.”

Level playing field

In the meantime, the European Union Election Mission to Ethiopia (EU EOM) presented their preliminary report on the elections held last Sunday.

“I commend the Ethiopian people’s commitment to democracy, as the massive turnout and the peaceful vote is a big achievement for all citizens, demonstrating their desire to excercise their democratic rights fully,” said Thijs Berman, the chief observer.

But Berman also announced that the elections fell short of certain international commitments and even Ethiopia’s own code of conduct.

“We observed that the ruling party has used state resources for campaign purposes, contributing to an unlevel playing field in favor of their own party in many areas,” he said.

The EU’s final report is expected within two months. EU observers will continue their mission untill the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has announced the final results.

In its preliminary results, annouced yesterday, NEBE already indicated the ruling party has won the elections in Addis Abeba, Tigray and the South.

Image source: NewBusinessEthiopia

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