Ethiopia’s Ruling Party Wins Elections Amid Reports of Irregularities

BY Larisa Epatko  May 25, 2010 at 11:32 AM EST


Pro-government rally in Ethiopia. Photo by Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

A sweeping win by Ethiopia’s ruling party in Sunday’s parliamentary elections was clouded by allegations of irregularities by opposition parties and international organizations.

On Tuesday, the country’s electoral board declared that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies won 534 seats out of 536 declared in the 547-member parliament, Reuters reported.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi vowed to consult with opposition parties on matters and urged international leaders to respect the win.

“Even if you don’t have seats in parliament we promise to consult you on issues of national concern. We consider you an important part of this renaissance,” he told tens of thousands of cheering supporters at a rally in the capital Addis Ababa.

Leaders of the main opposition coalition Medrek have denounced the election results as fraudulent.

The European Union’s observer mission in Ethiopia said that it saw government resources being used to help the ruling party during the campaign, according to Voice of America.

Chief observer Thijs Berman said the mission also heard reports of harassment and intimidation, and that the “sheer volume and consistency of the complaints” was concerning.

A report by U.S.-based Human Rights Watch also said the election was tainted by irregularities, intimidation by officials from the ruling party and media restrictions ahead of the vote on Sunday.

But Ethiopia’s national electoral board has said the voting was free, fair and democratic.

The BBC’s correspondent in Ethiopia, Uduak Amimo, filed this audio report about the election results.