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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More