By Neamin Ashenafi
The All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP) and Ye Ethiopia Ra’iy Party (ERaPa), both of which took part in the fifth round of the general elections, rejected the results of the May 24 general election because of the irregularities that the parties listed.
In a press conference held on Tuesday at the headquarters of the AEUP party located around Tewodros Square, President Abebaw Mehari and other higher officials of the party revealed to both local and international journalists that there were challenges and hurdles that the party faced during the election process and on the final voting day. The officials of the party have revealed that the election that took place throughout the country on May 24 was way below their expectations.
“Though the party was expecting a better election process and voting procedure than the last four elections, the result and the process of the election is worse. It was totally under the control of the ruling party,” the president of the party said.
In this regard, the party listed the irregularities that the party faced throughout the country except in the capital. The party also emphasized on the irregularities, such as the detention of its members and election observers, as well as other hurdles in Oromia, Amhara and Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples regions.
“The ruling party and its cadres have said that the election was free, fair and credible. However, the election was the exact opposite and was conducted in the absence of international observers and civic societies. Hence the party totally rejects the results,” the president concluded.
Aside from rejecting the results of the election, the party also demanded an immediate release of its members and supporters and any other political detainees who are in jail in connection to the election.
Similarly,Teshale Sebro, president of EraPa and other officials also revealed in a press conference on Tuesday the many irregularities and challenges that the party claims to had faced. The party, in its six-page press release, listed many irregularities and hurdles that the party had faced on and before the voting day both in the capital and regional cities such as in Oromia and South.
“The entire election process was full of defects and worse than the two elections in 2010 and 2013 [the general election and the local election]. For this reason, it is very difficult to say the election was free, fair and credible. Therefore, our party rejects the results of the election,” President Teshale stated.
Among the 58 parties that campaigned in the general election so far, Semayawi Party (Blue) and Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (Medrek), both with relatively high supporters, have also rejected the result on the basis of their claim that the election was full of irregularities and defects.
However, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) downplayed the criticisms and argued that the entire process and the final voting day were peaceful, free and fair and assured that the parties are responsible for their failure. Officials of the board – Chairman Merga Bekana (Prof.) and Deputy Chairman Addisu Gebregziabher (PhD) – at a press conference, which was held in the premises of the board, said that the overall process of the election was peaceful, free, fair and legal.
“Many of the parties that contested in the election have accepted the result but a few are rejecting the result based on baseless accusations,” the chairman said.