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Human rights group claims irregularities in Ethiopian electi
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 3:03 am Reply with quote
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Human rights group claims irregularities in Ethiopian election

Human Rights Watch says poll, won by Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, marred by intimidation and threats

* Associated Press
* guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 25 May 2010 08.29 BST
* Article history

Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, may speak at a victory rally for the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Ethiopia's ruling party today called a rally in the capital, Addis Ababa, to celebrate its victory in national elections, but a US-based rights group claimed the ballot, carried out at the weekend, had been corrupted by irregularities.

Hundreds of federal police stood guard as supporters of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) gathered in the city's central parade grounds.

Workers had constructed a platform overlooking the grounds and installed a glass box – possibly made of bulletproof glass – from which it was believed speeches would be made. It was not known whether the prime minister, Meles Zenawi, would speak.

The European Union mission said it would release a report on the election today. It said it that although Sunday's vote had been peaceful, it had received reports of irregularities, both of a technical nature and from opposition candidates.

At the rally, an announcer read out slogans from signs held up by government supporters criticising foreign rights groups that had questioned the election's validity. Some of the signs read: "We chose our leaders, accept the results" and "stop second-guessing us".

The rally was called as provisional returns showed a victory for the EPRDF and its allies.

The tallies showed the party and its allies were ahead in the nine regions – out of a total of 11 – to have so far reported results.

"As far as the provisional result is concerned, the EPRDF has won," the election board chairman, Merga Bekana, said. Officials said the final results would be announced late next month.

Sunday's vote had been closely watched by international observers after the contentious 2005 election, in which the opposition won an unprecedented number of parliamentary seats only to endure police crackdowns and the killing of 193 demonstrators after the votes were counted.

Neither opposition leaders nor ruling party officials could be reached immediately for comment on the results, which were announced yesterday. The opposition had previously complained of vote-rigging and intimidation on election day.

Bekana also said the ruling party had won 20 of the capital's 23 parliamentary seats, with only two in Addis Ababa still to report results . There are 546 assembly seats in all.

New York-based Human Rights Watch criticised the vote as being corrupted by pre-election irregularities, including voters being told they could lose food assistance, public sector jobs, loans and educational opportunities if they voted against the EPRDF.

"Behind an orderly facade, the government pressured, intimidated and threatened Ethiopian voters," Rona Peligal, the acting Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said.

"Whatever the results, the most salient feature of this election was the months of repression preceding it."

Ethiopian election officials said they had witnessed no irregularities, and a government spokesman, Bereket Simon, said the election had been free and fair.

"It is sad to hear that while the election officials have said Ethiopians voted in a democratic way, Human Rights Watch, which has nothing to do with the election observation, is declaring our election fraudulent," he said.

"The people of Ethiopia have voted, and no one is going to take their vote away from them."

Merga refused to say how many votes the EPRDF had received across the board, but calculations showed the ruling party won at least 6.7m votes in the nine regions reporting.

Merga said more than 90% of the 32 million registered voters – some 29 million people – cast ballots nationwide.

Analysts had predicted an easy win for the EPRDF, led by Meles, a US ally now poised to gain five more years of power after having seized control in a 1991 coup.

Since the violent elections in 2005, the opposition and some analysts say the government has systematically stifled the competition while limiting the media and restricting aid groups from working on human rights issues.

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Demonstration in Harar opposing Human Right Watches statment
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 3:14 am Reply with quote
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There is a huge demonstration in Harar today condemning the undemocratic statements of Human Right watch. People are marching on the street with signs on there hand demanding that their vote be respected.

There are reports that demonstrations were organized in Addis, Dire Dawa and other parts of the nation.

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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 2:02 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 03 Feb 2006
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My opinion on 2010 Ethiopian Election

One thing to notice with this year’s Ethiopian election is that Democracy does not just happen, it evolves through a hard work, struggle, and may be some bloodshed. Based on the history of Africa and for that matter Ethiopia, this is very striking and great triumph.

Though I do not agree or disagree with the current Ethiopian Administration, I like to point one thing that can never be foreseen in any event. The growth that Ethiopia has come to realize in past decade is unparalleled in its long history, Socio-economics, infrastructure, education, healthcare, and many more. Is that enough? Not quite. But there is a saying that goes like:

As long as we are in a journey the destination might take long but we will get there, so let’s keep on moving

These in it self is a great progress for the country from its historic view of the country, from where to be. There are two historic points to look at when we talk of Ethiopian in historic prospect, 1974 revolt of the King, and 1991 the revolt of the “Derge”. How did the country transformed ever since? Are we moving forward, stand still, or slippery slop? These are the questions that arise. Though when you look at these facts it all depends on who is determining all of this. Yet, over all as I have stated above, if I have a saying on this matter, I would say, we {Ethiopians} with the current administration in power are moving forward as country, at the local level, in African Union, and in the broader world arena. And the leader in charge {President Mêlées Zenawi} is making great influence for the country in various world arenas and mostly very positive.

Yet, like I said before, I repeat it again, is everybody in Ethiopia well satisfied with the over all achievement of the countries progress in the last two decades? I do not think so, yet, are we in the path to get there? I think so, but I leave the verdict to you.

Regardless, now since the election is behind us, let's go back and be active in which ever field we are and learn from our mistakes if we happen to be in the loosing team or be more proactive if we happen to be in the winning team.

Peace for all and peace for Harar, Ethiopia and the whole world Inshallah.


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Human rights group claims irregularities in Ethiopian electi
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