Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ethiopia: 59 AU observers arrive parliamentary elections

The African Union (AU) has deployed a group of 59 short and long-term election observers mission to oversee the May 24 parliamentary elections in Ethiopia.

Officials at the Ethiopian electoral board on Tuesday told Sudan Tribune that the African observers will be deployed to various regions of the country hence they are briefed on the electoral laws. The African Union Electoral Observation Mission (AUEOM) is led by former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba. The observers’ mission will remain in the horn of Africa’s nation until June 7.

“The Mission shall provide an objective, independent and impartial assessment of the conduct of the elections in line with the aforementioned international and regional best practices and standards,” the AU said in a statement released last week.

Also, the monitors will meet with government and electoral officials, candidates, political parties, civil society representatives and media to provide a critical assessment of the conduct of elections. Some 6,000 parliamentary candidates fielded by 58 political parties will contest for the 547 seat parliament which currently all its seats are occupied by the ruling party except two seats.

The parliamentary election will be Ethiopia’s fifth since the fall of the former dictatorial of the Derg regime in 1991. The current polls will also be the first since the current prime minister; Hailemariam Desalegn assumed office in September 2012 after his predecessor the late premier Meles Zenawi passed away.

The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party has claimed victory during all the previous four elections.Under the rule of EPRDF, Ethiopia has saw tremendous economic stride with an average growth of 10%, making the East African nation one of the 10 fastest growing countries in the world.

However the government has done little to improve human rights and press freedom and it is often labelled by international right groups as one of the worst worldwide. Nearly 35 million eligible voters have been registered across the nation, according to figures from the Ethiopian Electoral Board.

Ethiopians go to polls five years, in line with the national constitution.


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