Ruling coalition sweeps to victory in Ethiopian election

Ruling Ethiopian party, Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front dominates election winning 500 of 547 seats in federal parliament

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Ruling coalition of Ethiopia swept polls, winning 500 out of 547 seats in the country’s federal parliament.

The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic (EPRDF) is a unity composed of the of TPLF (Tigray), OPDO (Oromia), ANDM (Amhara) and SEPDM (South Ethiopia Peoples’ Regional State).

The official result was announced on Monday by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).

The five parties who are allied with the EPRDF took the remaining 46 seats, with one seat unannounced.

The NEBE said none of the opposition parties were successful in securing a seat in the federal parliament

With federal elections in Ethiopia held in every five years, the EPRDF and its allies will rule the country till then.

The parties allied shared the 46 seats as follows: Somali Peoples’ Democratic Party won 24 seats, the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Democratic Party won nine seats, the Afar National Democratic Party won eight seats, the Gambella People’s Unity Democratic Movement won three seats, the Harari National League won one seat and the Argoba Peoples’ Democratic Organization won one seat.

The EPRDF and its allies have also swept victories in the regional elections and won a large majority in parliament, earlier this year.

The opposition won just one seat in the last parliament, in the regional elections.

Ethiopia’s election commission deployed nearly 40,000 observers at 45,795 polling stations, although the only foreign electoral observers are from the African Union, which has sent a team of 59 officials.

The Ethiopian electoral officials did not invite the European Union and the US-based Carter Center, which monitored the 2005 and 2010 elections, to observe.

Although 58 parties contested the ballot, only two - the centre left coalition MEDREK and the recently founded Blue Party - were considered actual competition to the ruling party.

During the regional elections, the opposition have been complaining of harassment and intimidation of their supporters, particularly in the rural areas.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, leader of the EPRDF, which has been in power for almost 25 years, refused the harassment allegations.

The streets of capital Addis Ababa have been furnished by the posters supporting the ruling party, EPRDF.

Voting was held on May 24 and the turnout was 34.8 million, 93 percent of the total eligible voters registered.

At the official announcement of the federal elections at the Hilton Hotel, NEBE President Merga Bakana said: “The election was conducted in a democratic and orderly manner.”

In power for almost a quarter of a century, the EPRDF has overseen the transformation of a nation that was on its knees after communist purges and famine to one that now attracts foreign investors.

Rights groups accuse the government of locking up bloggers and journalists for their views, and restricting free speech. Officials deny this and say they only jail people for crimes. The government insists it will ensure a free and fair vote.

The opposition won an unprecedented 147 seats in an election in 2005 but most winning opposition candidates did not join parliament, saying the ballot was rigged. In that vote, opponents swept up seats in the capital, Addis Ababa.

But loyalties are more difficult to gauge in rural parts of the country, where many live in poverty.


TRTWorld and agencies