Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia announced here Thursday that it would release, on 8 November, its final report on Ethiopia’s controversial parliamentary elections, held on 23 May, 2010.
Chief of Mission, Thijs Berman, stated that the report would be released in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, because the Ethiopian government asked the mission not to do so in Addis Ababa.
‘I will release the Final Report in Brussels, on Nov.8… The Government of Ethiopia has refused us access to Addis Ababa to present the report there,’ he said in an email to journalists in the Ethiopian capital.
The Mission’s preliminary report in May categorized the elections as below inter national standards, leading to a fierce dispute between the Ethiopian government and the Mission. Many believe this has led to the over five-month delay in releasing the final report.
The preliminary report stated that the pre-elections period in Ethiopia were cha racterized by narrow political landscape that favoured the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
According to the report, the opposition didn’t have access to public media while EPRDF used public media and resources for party purposes, including campaigning and soliciting members and supporters.
Human Rights Watch and few western governments have also criticized the May elections they said were held in an environment of harassment and intimidation against opposition members and supporters.
Following the announcement of the results by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia that declared EPRDF winner with won over 99 percent of the seats both in the federal parliament and regional councils, various opposition parties filed complaints requesting a rerun only to be rejected by the Board and the country’s Supreme Court.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister then formed his new government in October with some new faces in key positions and new ministries created while some have been restructured.