2010 Parliamentary Results
|Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front and Allies||545|
Official results from Ethiopia's latest Parliamentary election released on June 21, 2010, indicate that the ruling party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front and it's allies, won a resounding victory securing an overwhelming majority in the House of People's Representatives election. The EPRDF won 545 seats in the 547-member Parliament.
The country's largest opposition coalition, Medrek, won a single seat. The Medrek coalition, consisting of eight smaller parties, was the first of the opposition parties to allege widespread voter intimidation and election rigging.
An independent candidate won a single seat in the Ethiopian Parliament.
The Ethiopian election process has drawn widespread criticism from the opposition and the international community alike. The election received a great amount of publicity and was placed under heavy international scrutiny, in the light of the massacre that occurred following the 2005 Parliamentary election, which saw 193 protestors killed by security forces and a score of opposition supporters and political leaders imprisoned.
Opposition parties jointly accused the government of vote rigging and intimidation on election day. Further, Human Rights Watch criticised the vote as being corrupted by pre election irregularities, citing threats that voters could lose food assistance, public sector jobs, loans and educational opportunities should they vote against the ruling party. The nongovernmental organisation has also said that, despite the result, the election would be remembered for the months of repression of the Ethiopian people that preceded it. Their argument has been compounded by the views of the European Union mission in Ethiopia, which said that, although the vote was generally peaceful, a number of irregularities undermined the vote from both technical and opposition politics perspectives. A top US diplomat also criticised the poll by saying that it had not lived up to international standards.
President Meles Zenawi hit back and dismissed reports that the elections were fraudulent, and said that the result was a reflection of what the Ethiopian people wanted and that it sent a clear message to opposition parties. Zenawi also warned opposition parties against causing any trouble, echoing threats of a repeat of the 2005 electoral clampdown. Of the international criticism, Zenawi said that "they must accept the decision of our great and proud people and not become tools of external forces that don't have the right to act as the ultimate judges of our elections".
Despite the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) declaring the election "peaceful, credible, fair, free and democratic", the Medrek leadership has not ruled out the possibility of street protests on the grounds that the electoral process was rigged. Their hopes lie in the last resort of a final court challenge against the NEBE in that they broke the law in investigating the provisional election results.
The Medrek challenge was, however, unsuccessful, making protest by the opposition a possibility. Further, fears of the 2005 government clampdown - still fresh in the minds of the opposition, as well as stern government warnings, augur that protests may turn violent. The Ethiopian Supreme Court has rejected the opposition call for an election rerun on the grounds that there is a lack of substantial evidence to back up their claim.
With widespread condemnation from the opposition and the international community, the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front will do well not to isolate itself from the rest of the world. A key US ally in a strategic position in the Horn of Africa, in a regional surge of Islamic militancy, means that Ethiopia is unlikely to face any major international disciplinary action, specifically from the US.
Polity. Ethiopia ruling party wins poll - official results. (June 21, 2010).
The New York Times. Ethiopians wait and worry over election results. (June 10, 2010).
East Africa Forum. Ethiopia's election: a bad result for democracy. (May 31, 2010).
VOA News. Ethiopian election draws record turnout; opposition charges fraud. (May 23, 2010).
Polity. Ethiopia Supreme Court rejects election result case. (June 22, 2010).