EU election observer mission barred returning to Ethiopia

Thijs BermanBy ARGAW ASHINE in Addis Ababa (7 November 2010 ) The European Union election observer mission has been barred from returning to Ethiopia. The mission was expected in the country to announce its final report. Ethiopia held national elections last May.Mr Thijs Berman,

a member of the European Parliament and head of Ethiopian election observer mission from Belgium, said his team was denied a visa by ‘unhappy’ Ethiopian authorities.

The mission was supposed to officially submit its report to Ethiopian Government in Addis Ababa. However, Addis authorities are furious about the report.

Ethiopian ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to comment on the issue when approached by the Africa Review.

His disappointment

The EU mission will now announce its long delayed report from the Brussels headquarters on November 8.

The report said the elections failed to meet international standards. But the African Union observers said the elections were free and fair.

The ruling party; Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), led by Mr Meles, won 99.6 per cent.

The opposition Medrek deputy chairman, Mr Gizachew Shiferaw, said the EU report was coming too late in the day to be of any relevance.

According to Mr Gizachew, the report cannot help anyone at this time, as the ruling party had already formed a new government.

The opposition politicians had sought a fresh election but their request was not granted by the supreme court.

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