News / Africa

Unified Ethiopian Opposition Demands Fair Elections

Marthe van der Wolf
— Thirty-four Ethiopian opposition parties have signed a petition to demand the elections next April - on the district, regional and city levels - be free and fair.

Opposition parties were invited by the Election Board last week to discuss the schedule of the polls.  When the parties asked to discuss irregularities that occurred during previous elections, the meeting was adjourned.  
 
Alessa Mengesha, chairman of the Gedeo People’s Democratic Organization opposition party, says several issues need to be discussed in depth.
 
“We have seen elections in Ethiopia in the past couple of years and decades, and those elections have always been marked by irregularities.  And those irregularities include irregularities during voting registration, irregularities during election campaigns, irregularities during vote-counting and even post-election irregularities," he said. "We have witnessed all those.”

Thirty-four of Ethiopia's 75 opposition parties have signed a petition demanding the next vote be free and fair.

The petition lays out 18 points of how the Election Board can ensure a better process.  Among other things, the parties say they want to be involved in the election administration, and request equal access to government media.
 
Asrat Tassie, secretary-general of the Unity for Democracy and Justice party, the only opposition party that holds a seat in parliament, says it is very important that the opposition can freely name and put in place their own election observers.

“A candidate has its own observers.  So what happens is they ask the names of those observers 10 days before the election.  So as soon as the election board receives the names of those observers, the government harasses them," he said. "Some will be arrested; some will be chased out of the town and so on.  So we don’t want to give them the names of our observers.”

European Union observers said the previous election in 2010 fell short of international standards.  They said resources of the state were used to support the campaign of ruling party EPRDF, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.  The ruling party and its allies won all but one seat in the 546-member parliament.
 
The elections of 2005 resulted in mass demonstrations against the government.  Nearly 200 people were killed in election-related violence, and dozens of people, including prominent opposition leaders, are still imprisoned.
 
The Election Board said it has received the opposition parties' petition but needs more time to respond to the demands.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ras Mitat from: US
November 09, 2012 7:29 PM
"...75 opposition parties..."

In Ethiopia, "unified opposition" is an oxymoron.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid