Ethiopian PM dismisses calls for fresh election, warns oppositions

May 28th, 2010 | by addis portal |

May 27, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Wednesday rejected a demand by opposition leaders for a re-run of the country’s national election, urging them to refrain from any unconstitutional moves that may lead to harsh consequences.

Two main opposition groups, All Ethiopia Unity Party and MEDREK (Forum), a coalition of eight political parties on Wednesday rejected results of weekend parliamentary polls, demanded for re-run of the election.

In a press conference Dr. Merera Gudina, deputy head of the Medrek coalition on Wednesday, called for election re-run, as the US and EU criticized the polls saying the election went short of international standards.

Dr. Merara said he will not accept the results, which gave ruling EPRDF party nearly all parliamentary seats.

Professor Beyene Petrose, head of MEDREK, told journalists that the election was full of harassment and intimidation stressing the coalition will not accept the results, and was demanding for a re-run.

“Sunday’s election wasn’t an election it was a Drama orchestrated by the ruling party,” said Professor Beyene Petrose.

The opposition coalition, MEDREK, as major challenger to the ruling EPRDF party didn’t get significant number of seats in parliament as expected by many. It fielded a large number of candidates, next to the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) however it secured only one seat for parliament.

OPPOSITION FIGURES RISK RETURN TO JAIL

In 2005, post-election violence triggered by claims of fraud and vote-rigging ended in a blood-shed. Security forces then killed about 200 people in street riots and imprisoned dozens of the main opposition leaders on charges of treason but were later pardoned.

Now, there is growing fears that the request for election re-run by the opposition groups might lead to similar arrests.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at a news conference on Wednesday warned oppositions to follow through legal process for any complaints in peaceful manner; however he said that “if they don’t otherwise, the outcome would be dire”.

He said the demand for a re-run is unjustified and is contrary to the constitution. “The call for fresh elections is completely unjustified and clearly contradicts the law,” Meles pointed out. “For them to call for a fresh general re-election based on allegations, allegations that have been characterized as unproven and unprovable, even by the observers, would be going a bit too far,” he said.

He said as the election results clearly showed it is not the EPRDF won the election but the democracy, the people and the Ethiopian renaissance win the election.

According to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, the ruling party and its allied parties won around 534 seats out of 536 declared, 11 seats remain unknown as the total members of the parliament is 547. Final poll results are expected to be announced on June 23.

Two opposition members, who protested the elections results, were killed in Oromia region. The first had been killed on Sunday and the second on Tuesday, said the opposition Oromo People’s Congress (OPC).

Ethiopian minister of information, Bereket Simon, told reporters that one opposition member was killed after he tried to storm an officie where ballots were being counted. The other was shot by a policeman because he had attacked him.

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