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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs