U.S. says Ethiopa vote not up to international standards – Reuters

May 26th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

The United States said on Tuesday Ethiopia’s election failed to meet international standards and called for stronger democratic institutions in the country, a key U.S. ally in Africa. (more…)

The United States said on Tuesday Ethiopia’s election failed to meet international standards and called for stronger democratic institutions in the country, a key U.S. ally in Africa.


“While the elections were calm and peaceful and largely without any kind of violence, we note with some degree of remorse that the elections there were not up to international standards,” Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson told a House of Representatives panel.

Carson, the Obama administration’s top diplomat for Africa, said Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government had taken “clear and decisive” steps to ensure it won a landslide victory in Sunday’s vote. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and allied parties won nearly every seat in the country’s 547-member parliament.

A European Union observer mission said on Tuesday the polls had been marred by reports of violence and intimidation, as well as the ruling party’s use of state resources for campaigning, but that this did not invalidate the results.

“It is important that Ethiopia move forward in strengthening its democratic institutions and when elections are held that it level the playing field to give everyone a free opportunity to participate without fear or favor,” Carson said.

The United States regards Ethiopia as a crucial ally in the fight against hardline Islamism in the Horn of Africa, and has provided some $4.7 billion in aid to the country between 1999-2009, including $862 million in 2009, according to State Department figures.

But Washington has also noted opposition accusations of repression by Meles, who has been in power since 1991.

The two countries traded sharp words in March after Meles accused the U.S.-funded Voice of America broadcaster of spreading “destabilizing propaganda” and said it would explore jamming the broadcaster’s Amharic language service.

Carson indicated that the United States would continue to press Meles to make democratic changes, but not at the price of endangering the alliance.

“We appreciate the level of collaboration that we receive from Ethiopia in a number of areas, but we also believe that Ethiopia must do better in strengthening its democratic institutions,” he said.

(Reporting by Andrew Quinn; editing by Jackie Frank)

  1. Drama
    | #1


  2. Ali Jaama
    | #2

    Has Meles not been telling the world since 2005 that there was a lesson learnt by his One-Ethnic regime from the 2005 election and the violence the followed? Hasn’t he? This is it. What he meant by ‘ a lesson learnt’ is this: We will harass, intimidate or even kill the living daylight of the opposition leading to and up until the election day!!!. Was it not just what happened? EU knows it and my ‘Most Reverend and Anointed President’ here should have understood it very well about it. And they cannot do anything about it now. As long as those gooks creatures by the name Al Shabab keep wreaking havoc in Somalia, he is the only viable and united force that can keep check on those extremists. Also, his opposition forces are so fragmented and therefore weakened by their own choice, he and his goons will keep winning elections by landslides in many many ‘elections’ to come. And you, some of you, who think Obama should do something about it are as wrong as Herman Cohen himself. Nowadays, everyone in the western world is busy fixing its own domestic economic calamity. Think about it! I know most of you would also agree with me on this. Even if the Obama Administration decides to put its full diplomatic support(economic also), which one should he go with. Just take a look at the list of the opposition parties and groups. They are in their hundreds. That is just those back in Ethiopia. Then if you include those groups that claim to operate or at least exist overseas, you will just run out of numbers. They are all fragmented, weak and most of them don’t even have the capability to express their mind not let alone having any written program. Pathetic and so sad !!!! OLF, ONLF, EPRP and this one is right out funny – EPRP(Democratic), SNLF, MEISON, Ginbot &, Medhin, Let me catch my breath folks please…Andinet…Sorry to those I left out. I just exhaust myself counting. But when they look at TPLF or EPRDF they find them cohesive and united. Once during in the mid 90′s one of the supporters of Meles had told me this – The opposition groups want to send us back to our places of origin of Northern Ethiopia. But we have nothing to go back to and will never starve and be neglected to death again. We will stay in power in Addis as long we want and share the wealth of the country. That is how far they are blinded by their own fear and commitment. And they are armed to the teeth. And lately, they are lucky with the emergence of radical religious terrorism in the area. If they think that the opposition is going to win the election and take power, they will leave Addis, Adama, Dire Dawa, Dessie and Jimma and Bishoftu smoldering. If not mine alone, it won’t be yours either. This is the mother of all despair and sheer fear. Enver Hoxha please rise up!!! Mao please stand up!!! You will be very proud of the seed you sowed before your demise.

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