News / Africa

EU Observers say Ethiopian Vote Skewed in Favor of Ruling Party

Michael Onyiego

The European Union has released its anticipated report on the May legislative elections in Ethiopia. The report found serious flaws with the electoral process, which human rights groups say was marred by intimidation and the suppression of opposition.

Speaking Monday in Brussels, E.U. Chief Observer in Ethiopia Thijs Berman released the mission's final report, which found the playing field was heavily tilted towards the ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front.

"There was an important lack of level playing field for the political parties, giving a clear advantage to the ruling party," Berman said. "The separation of ruling party and public administration was blurred at the local level in many parts of the country.  There has been misuse of state resources by the ruling party."

More than 30 million voters took part in Ethiopia's legislative elections in May.  While initially expected to be lower, turnout was around 93 percent, with more than 60 parties competing for more than 500 seats in parliament and nearly 2000 local seats.  Though the report found the vote to be peaceful and well organized, Berman said this was not enough for the observation team.

"Even though the results were largely accepted, there were and there are very serious problems, leading to the conclusion that these elections did not meet international standards," Berman said.

One of the serious issues was the transparency of the vote. The Ruling EPRDF won 544 out of 547 seats in the parliament as well as 1,900 seats out of 1,904 provincial seats.  According to the report, in 27 percent of the cases observed by the E.U. team, results reported at the polling stations differed from the results reported during tallying.

One of the report's main conclusion was that the Ruling EPRDF was able to maintain power by mobilizing state resources and withholding access to media.  Reports by groups such as New York-based Human Rights Watch also found incidents of voter intimidation, including forced registration and harassment of opposition candidates.

According to Human Rights Watch Horn of Africa Researcher Leslie Lefkow, the E.U. findings should give pause to Ethiopia's foreign donors.  

"The European Union in particular, but donors generally need to sit up and wake up to the fact that they cannot ensure that their aid is going where it needs to go in a politically uncompromised way.  The E.U. report further illustrates that problem," Lefkow said.

The findings of the observation team were delayed after the Ethiopian government refused to allow Berman to announce his results in the country.  According to the Chief Observer, it was the first such denial in more than 80 observation missions conducted by the European Union.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid