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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ethiopia's Ruling Party, Opposition to Sign Truce Pact Over Election Period

Rival parties in Ethiopia on Wednesday announced an agreement to maintain peace during voting day in Sunday's general elections, amid accusations of plots to cause unrest, officials said.

"In order to ensure that the process of the elections is smooth, we have agreed to a sign a non-violence pact," Information Minister Barakat Simone told reporters here.

Barakat, also the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front's (EPRDF) head of elections, said donors and the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) had expressed fears of possible anarchy.

CUD official Hailu Araya, welcomed the deal, which will be signed on Thursday, but urged the ruling party to respect terms of the agreement.

"CUD believes that signing this non-violence pact is of great importance to the party and its members," Hailu said.

"Our concern is its implementation because recently, we signed a code of conduct, but there was no change at the grassroot. Arrest and intimidation were continued," he said.

Two weeks ago, both sides signed an accord that stipulated how both sides would behave during the campaign period, which is due end officially early Friday.

Sudan Tribune

Also...

The African Union (AU) said Tuesday it had assigned a 30-member multi-disciplinary team of observers to monitor the upcoming national elections in Ethiopia.

The pan-African body said in a press release that it had assigned the observers following the invitation of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).

NEBE is responsible for the administration, conduct and supervision of all elections in Ethiopia's federal and state constituencies.

The AU observer team, led by Tanzania's legislator Amani Waldi Kabourou, also member of the Pan-African Parliament, is composed of parliamentarians, members of electoral management bodies, and other officials, drawn from various African countries.

The AU assigned the observer team in a bid to observe the Ethiopian people in selecting the leaders of their choice, in consonance with the laws of the country, it said.

People's Daily Online

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