Monday, June 22, 2015

Ethiopia declares election sweep for ruling party, critics cry foul

(Jun 22, 2015, (Addis Ababa))--Ethiopia's ruling party has swept all but one seat in the election to the 547-seat parliament held in May, final results showed on Monday, again crushing an opposition that complained of voting abuses.

Voting for the last seat was delayed after clashes between backers of an independent and those supporting the candidate of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). But the EPRDF is expected to win that too.

Merga Bekana, the electoral board chairman, declared the final tally, barring the last seat, at a news conference. The opposition secured just one seat in the last parliament, after winning an unprecedented 147 seats in the 2005 election, which was marred by violence. The opposition did not take up their seats after that vote, saying the poll was rigged.

Opposition activists have accused the authorities of irregularities and squeezing them out of politics in this latest and previous votes, a charge government officials dismiss. "The election was coordinated in a free, fair, peaceful, credible and democratic manner," Merga said, adding turnout was 93.2 percent of the 36.8 million registered voters. Ethiopia's population is 96 million. Read more from Reuters »  

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