The United States Department Government issued a statement expressing its regrets because Ethiopian government has denied it from observing the Ethiopia’s last Sunday general election.
“We regret that U.S. diplomats were denied accreditation as election observers and prohibited from formally observing Ethiopia’s electoral process,” the State Department said in its statement following Ethiopia’s election.
“We are also troubled that opposition party observers were reportedly prevented from observing the electoral process in some locations…The United States remains deeply concerned by continued restrictions on civil society, media, opposition parties, and independent voices and views,” it said.
“A free and vibrant media, space for civil society organizations to work on democracy and human rights concerns, opposition parties able to operate without impediment, and a diversity of international and domestic election observers are essential components for free and fair elections. The imprisonment and intimidation of journalists, restrictions on NGO activities, interference with peaceful opposition party activities, and government actions to restrict political space in the lead-up to election day are inconsistent with these democratic processes and norms.”
The United States has a broad and strong partnership with Ethiopia and its people. We remain committed to working with the Ethiopian Government and its people to strengthen Ethiopia’s democratic institutions, improve press freedom, and promote a more open political environment consistent with Ethiopia’s international human rights obligations, according to the statement from Ethiopia’s major counter terrorism partner in the East African region.
The two top opposition parties Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (Medrek), Semayawi (Blue) Party in Ethiopia rejected the provisional result by the electoral board which declared 100% victory of the ruling party from the results collected so far.
The parties rejected the result of Ethiopia’s last Sunday general election claiming that the electoral board and the ruling party have conspired and their members, observers were intimidated, beaten and arrested before, during and being chased after the election.
“By any means the election cannot be called free, fair and credible,” said Semayawi (Blue) party in its statement this morning declaring that it neither accept the process and the result of the election in which the party’s around 200 candidates including the chairman were cancelled by electoral board from running ‘without any legal ground’.
“Since it is impossible to build democratic system in the absence of freedom in the country, we will continue our peaceful struggle for freedom,” Eng. Yilkal Getnet, Chairman of the Semayawi Party said stating that they will not take the case to the court because they don’t believe that the country currently has no independent institutions free from the influence of the ruling party.
Sileshi Feyisa, who part of the leadership of Semayawi Party indicated that some 22 university students who promised him to be his election observers in Addis Ababa, where he was running for parliament, have changed their mind at the 11th hour because they were being warned by the security forces who told them that they will be expelled from school if they become election observers for him. “You can imagine what more these so called security people can do in other places out of Addis Ababa,” he said.
In most parts of the country Semayawi Party concluded the election as the best competitor of the ruling party, according to National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), which announced the provisional result of 442 seats of Ethiopia’s 547 seats parliament.
Medrek, which was the top opposition party in the number candidates for the parliament, was the first to issue statement rejecting the results of the election with almost similar claims to that Semayawi.
Medrek and Semayawi competed for the parliament with 207 and 139 candidates, respectively, against the ruling party’s 501 candidates and tens of its companion parties and independent candidates. Out of the close to 37 million registered voters, 90% have casted their vote, according to NEBE.
After overthrowing the Derg regime in 1991 by armed struggle, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has been in leadership for around a quarter of a century being praised for attaining economic growth while criticized for limiting democratic rights.