‘Repression’ mars Ethiopia vote

2010-05-24 18:09

kalahari.com

Addis Ababa - An international human rights group said on Monday that Ethiopia's national election was marred by repression and intimidation, while the government said the vote was free and fair.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Sunday's parliamentary vote was corrupted by pre-election irregularities that included telling voters they could lose food assistance, public-sector jobs, loans, and educational opportunities if they voted against the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front.

"Behind an orderly facade, the government pressured, intimidated and threatened Ethiopian voters," said Rona Peligal, acting Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Whatever the results, the most salient feature of this election was the months of repression preceding it."

European Union observers said Sunday's vote was peaceful and that more than 70 percent of the 32 million registered voters took to the polls. Ethiopian election officials said they witnessed no irregularities, but opposition officials complained of vote-rigging and intimidation on election day.

Government spokesman Bereket Simon said the election was 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. "But the good thing is the people of Ethiopia have voted and no one is going to take their vote away from them."

Election officials said they would release provisional results as early as late Monday, and final results in late June.

Details of the irregularities

Analysts have predicted an easy win for the ruling party led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a US ally now poised to enter a second decade of power after he seized control of the Horn of Africa country in a 1991 coup.

EU observers said Sunday that they received reports of irregularities, both of a technical nature and from candidates and opposition groups. They said they will release a report on Tuesday with details of the irregularities that were reported to them.

Sunday's vote was closely watched by international observers after a contentious 2005 election.

That year, a then-energetic opposition won an unprecedented number of parliamentary seats in this country of 85 million, only to endure police crackdowns and the killing of 193 demonstrators after the votes were counted.

Since 2005, the opposition and some analysts say the government has systematically stifled the competition, and ensured an uneventful election by enacting restrictive laws that restrict aid groups from working on human rights issues and hinder the media.

While the ruling party and election officials have said the election would be free and fair, Ethiopia is frequently criticized for its human rights record, including by the US State Department, which in a March report cited reports of "unlawful killings, torture, beating, abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces, often acting with evident impunity."

Still, the US considers Ethiopia an ally. Both countries want to curb Islamist extremism in Somalia, Ethiopia's unstable neighbor to the east. Ethiopia is reliant on billions of dollars of foreign aid, most of it from the US.

- AP
Read more on:    ethiopia  |  east africa  |  ethiopia elections
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Secret talks in Lesotho

44 minutes ago
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

The route of the 2015 Absa Cape Epic has been announced and it promises to be as challenging as ever!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

4 exercise excuses and how to beat them
Watch: Insane road bike skills!
The most extreme journey ever?
Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to focus too intently on outer appearance and beauty which hides who you really are. You are being challenged...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.