Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Sunday he would accept the verdict of his country's 26 million voters even if he loses the hotly contested general election.
Casting his ballot in his birth town of Adwa in northern Ethiopia near the tense border with Eritrea, Meles said he would cede power if the opposition, which has complained of widespread fraud and government abuses, won.
"If the international observers say that the opposition won, we will accept the decision," he told reporters here. "We'll wait for the outcome of the election to be glorified by the international observers."
Meles, 50, who has run the country since the 1991 ouster of a Soviet-backed dictatorship and is seeking a third term, said he was pleased with the massive turnout reported at the more than 30,000 polling stations around the country.