Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Malawi: HIV-infected man paid to have sex with girls arrested

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Meet Omar, the 10-year-old chef who became a social media star

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Gigantic snails are a delicacy in Ivory Coast

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

La vie en gris: The story behind France's famed rooftops

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: Olympic refugee team goes for gold

Read more

FOCUS

Taiwan's nuclear dumping ground

Read more

ENCORE!

Greece: Creativity in a time of crisis

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French growth grinds to a halt over strikes

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Norway will 'move mountains' for Nordic neighbour Finland

Read more

Africa

Opposition accuse Zenawi of election fraud

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-23

Ethiopian opposition leaders accused Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government of election fraud, just hours after polling got underway Sunday. Zenawi (pictured) has acted as prime minister for nearly 20 years, and is expected to win re-election.

AFP - Ethiopian opposition leaders on Sunday accused Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's ruling regime of rigging the legislative elections, hours after polling opened.

"It doesn't look like an election, even by African standards," said Merara Gudina, one of the top leaders of the opposition coalition Medrek, adding that there were reports of ballot boxes being stuffed in some areas.

He cited several cases of suspected fraud in the southern opposition stronghold of Oromiya, notably in the town of Ambo.

"As of now, 80 percent of all the polling stations of this whole area around Ambo, are without our observers," Merara told AFP in Guder, another town in the Oromiya region that is home to Ethiopia's largest tribe.

"In some areas, we even heard that ballot boxes were opened and stuffed before the arrival of our people," he said.

"They are determined to stay," he said, referring to Meles' ruling coalition, which is widely expected to extend its 19-year-old rule but has been accused of stifling the opposition.

"There is no law that forces us to accept any result. We'll review our assessment regarding the elections tomorrow. But one thing is for sure, all this cheating was done with millions of witnesses," Merara added.

Negasso Gidada, another opposition leader and former Ethiopian president, said opposition observers were prevented from monitoring the electoral process in several parts of the vast Horn of Africa country.

"In many places throughout the country, many of our party observers were not allowed to enter the polling stations," he said.

Negasso alleged that supporters of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) had been accompanying voters into the booths to influence their decision.

"There is the question of the voting booths and whether the secrecy of the voting process is properly protected," he said. "We are not yet sure, it is an impression we have."

The last polls in 2005 saw the opposition record its best ever showing but led to violence that killed 200 and triggered a government crackdown that left the regime's main challengers jailed, exiled or greatly weakened.

Rights groups have accused Meles, who has ruled over sub-Saharan Africa's second most populous country with an iron fist for almost two decades, of cracking down on political freedom ahead of the vote.
 

Date created : 2010-05-23

  • ETHIOPIA

    Polls close as Ethiopian opposition cries foul

    Read more

  • ETHIOPIA

    Religious leaders call for peaceful elections

    Read more

COMMENT(S)