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Ethiopia's Ruling Party Wins Parliamentary Election


Final poll results released by the electoral office show that Ethiopia's ruling party has won a majority of parliamentary seats in the country's disputed May 15 elections.

There are dozens of seats where the outcome is still being contested, and the commission will re-examine these races next week. But Kemal Bedri, chairman of Ethiopia's electoral board, says the final outcome is unlikely to change. He speaks by telephone from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

"First of all the ruling party, on its own, alone, has secured well above the 50-plus-one margin," he said, speaking by telephone from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. "It has about 63 percent of the parliamentary seats won by the ruling party. Among the 31 seats that are contested next week, we found out that the opposition has cheated in a lot of ways, [so] the ruling party will have the majority."

The ruling party's spokesman, Zemedkun Tekle, declined to speak to VOA.

According to the official tally, the People's Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies have won at least 311 seats in the country's 547-member parliament. That is, at least, 35 seats more than they need to form government.

The largest opposition group, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy won 109 seats, followed by the United Ethiopian Democratic Front with 52 seats.

Even if all the contested seats go to opposition parties, the ruling coalition would still have a clear parliamentary majority.

Marred by accusations of widespread fraud, the May 15 election was followed by massive protests in Addis Ababa. At least 36 people died in police clashes with demonstrators.

Opposition parties have threatened to boycott the next parliament and have called for investigations or new elections in nearly 300 constituencies. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has ruled out both options.

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