It is to be recalled that in the press releases we issued last week, we had stated that the vote counting process in numerous polling stations had been illegally discontinued and effectively made out of our view and, consequently, we had reported that until now, no investigation process had been started by the National Electoral Board on polling stations where we had complained that massive rigging had taken place. Despite the fact that we, on our part, have been making every effort so that the investigation process would start urgently and the legitimate winner would be known, the National Electoral Board has not started the said process. In fact, the Board’s primary preoccupation has been not resolving matters of conflict but announcing vote results that confirm EPRDF’s alleged victory including in contested areas.
It has become obvious that the announcements of results being made by the Board these days are designed not to show the true decision of the Ethiopian people but to give a quasi-legal cover to EPRDF’s illegal declaration of victory made following Election Day. We want to make it clear to the Ethiopian people, as well as to the international community, that these announcements of the Board are incorrect and unacceptable. The truth is that, in constituencies where counting was properly conducted in the presence of our representatives, we have won with certainty 158 seats in Parliament. In addition, we have accurate information showing that, if proper investigation is conducted, we shall win over the whole of the 156 constituencies on which we have lodged serious complaints. This means that, excluding the number of seats won by other opposition parties, there is no doubt that CUD will win no less than 314 of the seats that will enable it to assume power at the level of the federal government. In the regions as well, in addition to Addis Ababa, we are becoming more assured that we will have enough popular support that will enable us to take over the administration of the Amhara Region.
The statements on vote results being issued by the National Electoral Board and EPRDF are unfounded and we are certain that there is no way where EPRDF could win even one-quarter of the parliamentary seats, let alone win enough seats to enable it to form a federal government. EPRDF and the National Electoral Board cannot hoodwink any body into accepting false election results by presenting incorrect data. The Ethiopian people know full well for whom they have voted and for whom they have not. We call upon EPRDF and the Board to stop their futile attempts in misinforming the people and to create a condition in which a proper investigation could be carried out in the disputed constituencies and the legitimate winner would be known.
To be sure in the discussion on the joint form of political parties yesterday, an agreement has been reached among the parties concerned that an investigation would be started according to our request and that the National Electoral Board would not release the final results on June 8, 2005 as had been planned earlier. Furthermore, it has been agreed that the results the Board had earlier announced as “provisional” would be corrected as being not yet ascertained and as not showing the victory of any party. It has also been agreed that this new position would be made known to the public by the Board. We take these new agreements as a good beginning and we earnestly request that EPRDF and the Board to respect these latest developments. Based on its firm belief that the conflicts surrounding the election should be resolved peacefully, CUD has filed a charge in court demanding that the National Electoral Board desist from issuing election results that include disputed constituencies. Similarly, CUD has requested the court that the illegal banning of public demonstrations the Prime Minister has imposed on the people of Addis Ababa, thus violating their constitutional right to assemble peacefully, be lifted.
Our effort to resolve problems on the basis of the electoral law of the land will continue to the very end. However, as we have made it clear repeatedly in our earlier statements, the task of reclaiming the voice of the people taken away from them through the use of force rests primarily on the Ethiopian people themselves who are the ultimate source of power. If EPRDF and the Board are not ready to respect and protect the decisive voice of the Ethiopian people, the people themselves would be forced to reclaim the victory they have been denied through a peaceful and legal means of struggle. CUD is in the process of making preparations to provide responsible, sober and coordinated leadership in order to enable the people to carry out their historic responsibility. As
soon as the preparations are completed, numerous and successive protest demonstrations will take place in a peaceful manner. Struggle measures ranging from stopping school, transport, trade and production activities to staging a peaceful nation-wide, general strike will take place. We thus call upon the Ethiopian people to be mentally prepared for these activities and to follow the leadership of CUD when it is given at the proper time and in the proper conditions. It is inevitable that the people will protect their right through peaceful and legal measures. If the ruling party insists on staying in power through force, we, the people, must realize that the decision on whether or not we want to continue to be a part of the illegal government rests in our own hands.
CUD believes that there is an urgent need for an intervention from a third party if the Board is to be persuaded to conduct a proper investigation and the problems surrounding the election are not to lead to an unnecessary political confrontation. We wish to take this opportunity to express our readiness to engage with any party in a discussion aimed at reaching a fair conclusion regarding the election problem with which we are confronted at the moment.
Coalition for Unity and Democracy
May 31, 2005
Members of the CUD
United Ethiopian Democratic Party - Medhin (UEDP-MEDHIN)
All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP)