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EU observers slam lack of political freedom in Ethiopia vote

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(ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia's weekend elections were marked by "narrowing political space", with the ruling party using state resources to boost its campaign, European Union observers said Tuesday.

The east African nation's electoral board annnounced late Monday that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's ruling coalition was in the lead across the country following Sunday's legislative polls.

"The title of our preliminary report is high turnout on election day but marred by narrowing political space and (an) uneven political field," Thijs Berman, the head of the European Union's observation mission, told reporters.

Berman, who headed a mission of around 160 observers, charged that Meles' ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) had used state resources to bolster its campaign and neutralise the opposition's.

"The separation between the ruling party and the administration was blurred in many cases at the local level," Berman alleged.

"The EU observed the use of state resources for the campaign."

The Dutch member of the European Parliament also said that too little was done to ensure the credibility of the national electoral board (NEBE).

"Insufficient measures were taken to increase the level of trust of some political parties in the NEBE institution, especially at the local level," Berman added.

Meles and his supporters were already celebrating victory Tuesday but the opposition claimed the results were "completely fraudulent".

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Ethiopian Election

Posted by mesfin tadese at 25 May 2010, 13:22 CET
This is the most undemocratic and fake election i have ever seen.Most of the young Ethiopians knew this to happen and we do not expect any election to be fair and free in ethiopia............ nonsense EPRDF!!!!!!!!!!!!
We lost our hope of experiencing democracy in 2005 which left many dead and many chose to be silent this days.we didn't even take what they called "ID" from the electoral bord.

Ethiopian Election

Posted by Mekuria at 25 May 2010, 20:09 CET
It was fair, free and democratic. As a voter and all my Ethiopian colleagues, we know to whom we vote and that is acceptable. EPRDF won, that is right because they perform well and they beat them hardly on the head. In 2005 there was a better ground for opposition parties although it was a fake that couldn't even last until the vote was counted. Before 5 years I voted for opposition. Do u know why, because I thought if there is another party that could compete, we will have a better administration and much work for both the ruling party and opposition parties. But my expectation was to the other way around as they throw my vote to the garbage and complained that they got all the vote to win at the whole country. As that was proved false even they know that. Now is the time for building the country and it has to be done by EPRDF. We are expecting more Hydro power, Railway,MORE SCHOOLS, Hospitals and other infrastructures for our sustainable development. For this reason I am happy with my choice that will work for 5 years.