ADDIS ABABA —
Ethiopia’s ruling party says it has overwhelmingly won the 2015 parliamentary elections, claiming 546 out of 547 seats in legislative body for a five year term.
For the past five years, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and their affiliated parties have faced only one opposition member in parliament, and one independent member often voted with the ruling party.
Beyene Petros, leader of the largest opposition party, Medrek, says the election results are "absolute nonsense," saying the results have no credibility and do not reflect voter interests.
The current lone opposition member in parliament, Girma Seifu, says he will not return, even if the last seat goes to the opposition.
Despite nearly 100 percent voter support for EPRDF at the polls, Merga Bekana of Ethiopia's National Election Board says all elections were conducted in a free and fair manner.
"It is the duty of the board to announce the decision of the people and that the mandate is in the hands of the Ethiopian people to elect their representatives," he said, adding that there is a chance the last seat will also go to the EPRDF.
"[Vote counting] for that seat, which is located in the Southern Nations, Nationalities Regional State, was extended by the board previously," he said.
Opposition parties have filed complaints about harassment and intimidation in the weeks leading up to the elections. The government has denied most of these accusations, though the electoral board has investigated some of the complaints.