Loading...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ethiopia's Ruling Coalition Hangs on to Power

Ethiopia's ruling coalition and its allied parties hung on to an absolute majority in the 547-seat parliament, but the opposition made major gains in the May 15 elections, according to provisional results released by the national electoral commission.

According to returns from 453 constituencies, the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi won 271 seats, down from 481 in the last parliament, and allied parties took another 14 in the legislative polls.

This gives the ruling coalition and allied parties 285 seats, well above the absolute majority of 274 in the federal parliament.

The EPRDF may yet win an absolute majority on its own but this will not be known until Sunday, said Getahun Amongne, a spokesman for the the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).

According to returns from 453 constituencies, the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi won 271 seats, down from 481 in the last parliament, and allied parties took another 14 in the legislative polls.

This gives the ruling coalition and allied parties 285 seats, well above the absolute majority of 274 in the federal parliament.

The EPRDF may yet win an absolute majority on its own but this will not be known until Sunday, said Getahun Amongne, a spokesman for the the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).

If confirmed, the electoral victory would be the third for Meles who came to power in 1991 after overturning communist dictator Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam.

The country's two main opposition groups, which held only 12 seats in parliament before the election, were credited with 166 seats, and the remaining seat went to an independent.

These groups, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) and the United Ethiopian Democratic Front (UEDF), have complained of irregularities during the elections with the CUD threatening not to take up its seats unless there is an investigation by the NEBE.

The UEDF refused Saturday to accept the latest election results saying it would need to wait until its complaints of electoral irregularities were investigated.

AFP/Yahoo! News

Election Timeline

March 23
The European Union will be sending too few elections observers and too late to ensure free and fair elections in Ethiopia, an opposition leader said, adding that the government has already taken steps to guarantee the ruling party a victory. The first of 159 EU election observers arrived over the weekend, the first outsiders to officially monitor balloting in Ethiopia.

March 25
Meles Zenawi's parliament endorsed the People's Republic of China's anti-secession law on Taiwan. But the foundation of the Ethiopian constitution, to be more exact, the Meles Zenawi constitution, is based on what the prime minister has been saying is the universal right of "nations and nationalities to self-determination up to secession."

April 20
Over 30 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) working in Ethiopia announced they are to sue the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) over a new directive, excluding some of them from sending domestic observers.

Ethiopians in the United States staged a rally in Washington DC to protest against government expulsions of three U.S. democracy groups and the rising tide of government attacks on members of the opposition parties in Ethiopia, rally organizers have announced in a press release.

April 30
Ethiopia's largest opposition group accused security forces on Wednesday of killing eight of their supporters and arresting 240 during a campaign to scare their supporters ahead of May 15 elections.

May 1
Reacting to Sheikh Mohamed al-Amoudi's campaign speech during a ceremony to lay a foundation stone for St George's stadium, Dr Beyene Petros, the deputy chairman of the Ethiopian United Democratic Forces (EUDF), has said "he needs Sheikh Mohamed's investment. However, there must be somebody misleading him. It would have been better for him if he had played a neutral role."

May 5
A UN spokeswoman in Ethiopia warned that 136,000 children were severely malnourished and that this figure could double over the next few months. The announcement comes despite an announcement in January that Ethiopia, backed by UN agencies, had enjoyed a bumper harvest last year. Some aid workers now say these figures were inflated for political reasons.

May 12
Ethiopia's prime minister warns of the danger posed by a "very active al-Qaida cell" in Somalia's capital and said a stable government is the best way to eliminate the terrorist threat in the chaotic Horn of Africa country.

May 17
International poll monitors lauded the conduct of the election, questioned some opposition complaints and former US president Jimmy Carter brushed aside Meles' ban on demonstrations in the capital. Carter, who led a team of 50 observers, said he was satisfied with the explanation for the ban given to him by the prime minister who he said was concerned that opposition success in the capital might spark violence.

May 25
The opposition United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) said on the ruling party was destroying ballot boxes for a possible recount in constituencies where it had been defeated, and called on the other opposition parties to forge unity for a joint action.

May 25
Ethiopia's electoral board appears to have lost control of the vote counting for the May 15 legislative polls, European Union election observers said in a report obtained by the Associated Press Wednesday.

May 26
Leaders of an estimated 15,000 protesting Ethiopians met with United States State Department officials on Thursday over Ethiopian government actions designed to reverse outcome of elections held on May 15 in the African nation.

May 27
Days after declaring a state of emergency, Zenawi has ordered a militia group called ‘The Agazee’ to be brought in to Addis Abeba. This militia group entirely composed of a Tigrean contingent from the Tigrae People Liberation Front is heavily armed with tanks, anti-aircraft missile, rocket launchers and other heavy equipment and such a show of force has made Addis Abeba now resembling a war zone occupied by enemy forces.

May 29
Landlocked Ethiopia will use the Red Sea port of Berbera in the self-declared enclave of Somaliland to import fuel and goods, officials said on Sunday. A deal, which goes into effect on July 1, closed out a four-day trade mission led by Ethiopian Revenue Minister Getachew Belay.

No comments: