News / Africa

Ethiopian Opposition Fears Rout in Parliament Vote

Multimedia

Audio

Early reports suggest Ethiopia's ruling party has won a massive victory in Sunday's parliament elections.  Almost every major opposition leader appears to have been defeated.

The headquarters of Ethiopia's main opposition party was like a funeral parlor as observers reported in from around the country, opposition leaders were dumbstruck at the possibility of a nearly complete rout.

High-profile leaders such as former president Negasso Gidada, senior figures in the parliamentary opposition Merera Gudina and Beyene Petros, all appear headed for defeat.

Other prominent political leaders, including Hailu Shewal and Lidetu Ayalew were also said to have conceded.  

In Addis Ababa, opposition parties won all 23 seats in parliament five years ago, but this time it looks as if they have been wiped out.

Sitting in a quiet back office of jailed opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa's Unity for Justice and Democracy party headquarters, parliamentary leader Temesgen Zewdie was devastated by the early results.

"It is a total surprise, a total shock, and we are sure investigating as to what went wrong for us to perform this poorly," said Temesgen Zewdie.

Temesgen said an opposition divided into many blocs made it easy for Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front in 'first past the post' contests.

"Medrek in Addis and the regions, in the preliminary showing, is second to EPRDF, and had this been proportional representation, we probably would have shared some seats with the ruling party, but since this is winner take all system, we are at a disadvantage," said Temesgen.

In the yard outside party headquarters, scores of young opposition supporters milled around, obviously upset.  Nineteen-year-old Achame Lazarus, who had served as a Medrek poll watcher Sunday, said the election had been stolen.

"We are practicing false democracy in Ethiopia, the principles are being told by our government officials, but as you can see from the ground level, things are going not on the right track," said Achame Lazarus.

Medrek senior leader and former Ethiopian president Negasso Gidada said the job of party elders is to cool down their disenchanted supporters to avoid a repeat of the violence that followed the disputed 2005 election.

"Maybe some of them are angry, but we will cool them, we will register the facts, what happened in the process, tell them what happened, and after telling them, we will tell them, be cool, we are a peaceful party, and when there are cases that have to go to the election board, and if it is not solved there we will go to the court," said Negasso Gidada.

The first word from election officials is the elections had gone smoothly and peacefully.  National Electoral Board spokesman Mohamed Abdurahman said there had been no reports of cheating.

"The board has received no single complaint formally, including the opposition parties, the public, the ruling party, they all said it was peaceful, calm and free," said Mohamed Abdurahman.

Ruling party officials were cautious in declaring victory.  Government Communications Minister Bereket Simon would only say it appeared as if the EPRDF had won comfortably.  Party spokesman Hailemariam Dessalegn said he was standing by earlier predictions of turnout possibly exceeding 90 percent.  

The European Union and African Union deployed a total of nearly 250 observers spread out across the country to monitor activities at 43,000 precincts.   EU Chief Observer Thijs Berman has scheduled a news conference Tuesday to deliver a preliminary verdict on the fairness of the vote.  

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs