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Ruling Party Expected to Triumph In Ethiopian Elections


Supporters of Ethiopia People Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) hold a poster bearing Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, 20 May 2010

Supporters of Ethiopia People Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) hold a poster bearing Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, 20 May 2010

Ethiopia holds a parliamentary election Sunday, the first since the 2005 vote that ended in a disputed outcome and violence.

Most observers predict an easy win for the ruling EPRDF coalition, which has tight control over state media, government jobs, and the election process.

The election campaign has been tense, with the main opposition coalition, known as Medrek, saying its candidates have faced intimidation and harassment. Medrek also blames the government for the death of three of its members.

The government accuses Medrek supporters of killing a EPRDF member and a policeman.

Separately, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has said the opposition plans on provoking violence, a charge a Medrek leader has denied.

Opposition protests erupted in 2005 after election officials said the EPRDF had won control of parliament. Security forces killed at least 193 people while putting down demonstrations.

A total of 547 parliamentary seats are at stake in Sunday's polls. Final results are not expected until June 21.

Ethiopia is Africa's second most populous country, after Nigeria, with about 80 million people. An estimated 31 million are registered to vote.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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