Berman might need an extra month

Posted on September 5, 2010


“(…)Thijs Berman is expected to arrive [in Addis Ababa] with the final report of the May 23 parliamentary and regional elections in Ethiopia in a couple of weeks, according to the revised schedule.”

An anonymous source in the The Reporter reveals that Thijs Berman, chief of the European Union Election Observers Mission to Ethiopia (EU EOM), and his team will present their final statement on the national elections in May soon.

In fact, the Ethiopian weekly reveals that there is a “revised schedule”, something that hasn’t been communicated. The latest press release on the EU EOM website dates from 26 May, when Berman and his observers were still in Ethiopia.

Initially the conclusive report on the elections, in which ruling party EPRDF won 99,6 percent of the votes, was promised to be present “within two months”. According to The Reporter’s sources they “might take an additional one”. Because of uncertainty about this, reporters have asked Berman when his report would be finished, mostly without success.

The preliminary report of the EU observers mission was published two days after the elections. It praised well-organized and peacefully held polls with a high turnout, but criticized an unlevel political playing field and the usage of public resources in favour of the ruling party’s campaign.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi never showed much interest in the EU’s assessment. He denounced the preliminary statement as a political opinion without any evidence. Meles recently said he is not interested in the full package.