Ethiopia Election Board Rejects Call for New Poll

VOA, 10 June 2010 –Ethiopia’s elections body has rejected opposition calls for a re-run of last month’s parliamentary poll, won by the ruling party in a landslide.

A coalition of six parties said the May 23 election was rigged, and that voters and opposition candidates were harassed.

The National Electoral Board said Wednesday that the opposition claims were not backed by any evidence.

Election results showed the ruling EPRDF coalition and allied parties taking 534 out of 537 parliamentary seats.

Opposition leaders say the government’s near-total victory could not be accomplished without cheating.

Both the United States and the European Union criticized the election as falling short of international standards. Ethiopian officials have said the voting was free, fair, and democratic.

The election was Ethiopia’s first parliamentary poll since a disputed 2005 vote that led to violent unrest. Security forces killed nearly 200 people while putting down demonstrations after that poll.

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