Ethiopian Opposition Fails in Its Final Appeal Against Conduct of Election – Bloomberg

July 21st, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia’s main opposition group said its final legal appeal against the conduct of May’s general election was rejected by the Court of Cassation today.

Medrek, a coalition of eight parties, made an unsuccessful complaint to the National Electoral Board about irregularities surrounding the May 23 poll, and then took the case to the Supreme Court, which upheld the board’s decision. Today, the Supreme Court’s decision was also upheld, Medrek spokesman Negasso Gidada said by phone from the capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling party, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, with allied parties, won all but two seats in the 547-member parliament. Meles is a former Marxist guerrilla leader who has ruled sub- Saharan Africa’s second-most populous nation since 1991.

“They said there were no legal grounds to oppose the electoral board and supreme court’s decisions,” said Negasso. “That means there’s no more legal ways for us to go.”

The coalition, that won one seat in Addis Ababa, will consult its lawyers before deciding its next move, Negasso said.

The electoral board’s management of the election process was praised by a European Union observer mission, though it criticized the lack of a “level playing field for all parties” and said the election “fell short of certain international commitments.”

The Ethiopian government has rejected all criticism of a process it described as “free and fair.”

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at 1999 or pmrichardson@bloomberg.net

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