No level playing field for opposition, say EU Observers Chief – Eskinder Nega (Addis Ababa)

May 25th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

EU observers chief Thijs Berman gave a press conference at noon toady in which he called this year’s election “short of international standards in some respects.” (more…)

EU observers chief Thijs Berman gave a press conference at noon toady in which he called this year’s election “short of international standards in some respects.” While he praised the electoral board’s technical handling of the election despite few hiccups he cited, he repeatedly stressed that the absence of a level playing field “in favor of the EPRDF” has affected both the process and outcome of the election. Pressed by journalists to say whether the election was free and fair, Berman deferred, insisting that it is too early to pass judgment. “I understand your hunger,” said Berman to Bloomberg’s Jason Maclure who asked him if the election was credible. “But I can not give you a definite answer before doing a nationwide analysis.”

Berman was repeatedly provoked by Mimi Sebehatu, a former VOA journalist and now an EPRDF supporter with the intensity of a new convert, and government journalists, who questioned the independence and integrity of EU observers. “Is the observers’ mission independent from external pressure and influence?” inquired government journalists repeatedly. “I am paid by the CIA,” responded a provoked Berman sarcastically. “And I also resent the question,” he added visibly angered. He also spoke of narrowing of the political space, and laws that were enacted in the run up to the elections that are in contravention to international laws signed by Ethiopia.

Berman said while EPRDF’s observers were present in all the polling stations that they visited on Sunday, Medrek’s were present in about half and AEUP’s only in about 20 percent . “We are not here to please anyone. We are not here to take the government’s pretty picture. We are not here to take the opposition’s pretty picture. We are here to take an accurate picture,” said Berman.

The government used Human Rights Watch as a pretext to stage massive rallies around the country today to buttress its widely mocked margi of victory in Sunday’s nationwide election. I attended the rally in Addis as a translator to foreign journalist, who estimated the size in the ten of thousands. The rally was planned well before HRW issued a statement on Monday, according to sources; signaling that the EPRDF knew about its disquieting margin of victory before votes were cast on Sunday. Kebles in Addis Ababa marshalled residents to Meskel Square as early as 6 in the morning; where HRW, and, quite bafflingly, EPRDF’s western partners were condemned. “The people have spoken,” said Meles to the crowd. “Everyone should respect the outcome. We urge that we should not be provoked anymore.”

In Addis Ababa, where the opposition had won all the seats in 2005, the EPRDF claimed victory in all but one wereda, where Medrek allegedly won its only seat with less than 100 votes more than the EPRDF. Preliminary results released by the Electoral Board, whose independence has been seriously undermined ever since it accredited a coalition of EPRDF affiliated civil organizations to observe the election by insisting on their non partisanship, show the EPRDF garnering 403,621 votes in Addis, as opposed to 264,607 for Medrek; 26,535 for EDP; and 13,618 for Medrek. In Oromia, where Dr Merera’s party,the ONC,a member of Medrek, the largest opposition, is quite popular, the EPRDF claimed 3,927,673 votes, compared to Medrek’s 117,719; 119,613 for Lidetu’s EDP. In Tigray, where Gebru’s Arena Tigray and UDJ’s Seys Abarha, mounted an impressive campaign against the EPRDF, the ruling party allegedly registered 196,011 ballots; but only 6341 for Medrek, 9041 for EDP; and 268 for AEUP.

Results publicized by the electoral board show that all leaders of the opposition have lost their bid for a seat in parliament; this list includes Professor Beyene, Dr Merera, Dr Negaso, Seye, Gebru, and Engineeer Gizachew. The results are of course being contested by the opposition, who will now head to the electoral board and foreign observers with their complaints.Failing resolution there, they will then head to the courts as a measure of last resort(Though no one expects Ethiopia’s judges to stand up for the truth.)

Serious reports of irregularities have emerged from West Shoa yesterday after revelation that Medrek representatives left polling stations on Sunday night without signing on documents that certify the result of the election.Irregularities have also been reported in other areas of the country by opposition groups.

Here are some sample results posted around Addis:

Wereda 18–Bole– (One Station)
EPRDF: 205
EDP: 28

Wereda 2 –Piassa– (One Station)
EPRDF: 375
EDP: 17

Wereda 1 —HabteGiorgis Deldey– 18 (One Station)
EPRDF: 356

Wereda 5–Merkato– (One Station)
EPRDF: 255

  1. Joseph
    | #1

    I take off my hat for the EU Election Observing Team Chief, Mr Berman and his team. Thank you Sir for standing up for truth!!!

    Zenawi has turned the whole youth in the nation to his slaves by teaching them bribery, how to become corrupt, cruel and even kill their own brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers.

    The youth and residents at Kebeles learn Zenawi’s Revolutionary Democracy in study circles like the old day Mao of China’s quotations were being studied. People say, jokingly, that we are turning Chinese very soon.

    Now Meles wants people from the civilized world (the EU Election observers in this case) to lie and be corrupt like him and his cronies. Also, whoever tells the truth, that by default his enemy! He started with HRW and the EU Observers!!!

    The EU observers are grown up in a democratic country understand far better than Zenawi the rule of law and fairness, and they’ve never been trained in the bushes to smuggle aid money and also rig elections.

    Well done to Mr Breman and his team for standing up for the truth that we have been fighting for two decades.

    The opposition parties must sit down and after having their actions together unanimously declare that the election 2010 is void and null!

  2. Tulu Oda
    | #2

    Ana Gometse is vindcated once again.

  3. ኢትዮጵያዬ
    | #3

    Thank you the new Sadam Husseien will be given the right response soon, by the people of Ethiopia.

    The YOUTH?

    Please don’t play with the disgusted, the mercenary child killer, meles.
    You have the whole future infront of you. Ethiopia will bring back her respect and her children won’t be embarassed any more by the jungle ruler and his jungle rules.

    Opposition WON’T ACCEPT ANY OF THE TPLF DRAMA RESULTS. Those who associate themselves with tplf jungel ruler for any reason, they should find a way how to dissociate themselves, if not, they will be as much responsible as the child killer.

    Inshe Alah

  4. kassahun
    | #4

    It is so funny how they allocated those numbers to make them look genuine. Darn, Medrek lost barely kind of trick..kkkkk… Woyanes are so lame.
    Well, the good thing is once again, the woyane fake election is deemed not credible by all. Woyane just took its status as a brutal dictatorship one notch up.

  5. aha!
    | #5

    In a three-way thug of war among the negative forces of integration: TPLF/eprdf and the wuold be Tigrai-Harena/fdd/efdr, with ethnic agenda of maintaining ethnic boundries. ethnic fedreralism, and/or secessionism; and the positive forces of integration: KAEUP, EDP and others are reflected in the distribution of votes as presented by the author, if at all accurate. Win or lose Medrek electorates except the leaders will have far fewer seats than ever before, even to muster a bicameral chamber of parliament as I predicted, unless they call for a rerun as the other opposition leader/s are demanding to even make the bicameral chamber of parliament a reality, without making a dent in the change of the status quo and continued skirmishes over ethnic boundries, divide and rule policy and liberation movements to attain secessionist rights upto independence and the peaceful struggle for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

    In the rerun election, if at all materializes and plain level field is implemented, UDJP should stick to the national agenda rather than straddling between two camps: earlier on with TPLF/eprdf and latter on with Medrek.

  6. Sileshi
    | #6

    I would like to say something about the bravery and professional journalism of Eskinder Nega. He has been briefing us all the way to the fake election and tried to show us who is who in both opposition parties and so called Government.

    Thumbs up to Eskinder and my hearlt felt Thank you goes to you and few Ethiopians who managed to stick their pens to paper while living under a gun.

  7. aha!
    | #7

    Furthermore, despite the loss of seats by top leaders, Medrek fares well in with TPLF/eprdf regime in the preliminary polls at all woredas, ensuring perhaps the bicameral nature of configuration of the parliament. Inspite of that, it is baffling to learn about a land slide of about the land slide for seats of 499 out of 547 of seats going to TPLF/eprdf party and the total of the distribution of votes appear to be a miniscule sum of the 30 million registered voters. Nevertheless thanks is in order to KAEUP, EDP and others who made even this possible through the Code of Conduct agreement, which as indicated in the letter to the committee, has hurt KAEUP the most, with its contrasting ideology to TPLF/eprdf and Medrek, that of liberal ideology and/or democracy, where the free individuals, elect a party that governs by the consent of the goverened. That secenario will be swept under the rug, unless the demand put forth by KAEUP is followed through and a rerun is conducted.

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