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

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
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.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs