Read below the statements from the U.S. and E.U. released on May 27.
Full text of the press statement of the United States
Marie Harf, Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC
The United States commends the people of Ethiopia for their civic participation in generally peaceful parliamentary and regional elections on May 24. We acknowledge the National Electoral Board’s organizational efforts and the African Union’s role as the only international observer mission on the ground. We also note the importance of the nine televised party debates as progress in fostering open public discussion of the challenges facing the country. We encourage all candidates, political parties and their supporters to resolve any outstanding differences or concerns peacefully in accordance with Ethiopia’s constitution and laws.
The United States remains deeply concerned by continued restrictions on civil society, media, opposition parties, and independent voices and views. We regret that U.S. diplomats were denied accreditation as election observers and prohibited from formally observing Ethiopia’s electoral process. Apart from the election observation mission fielded by the African Union, there were no international observer missions on the ground in Ethiopia. We are also troubled that opposition party observers were reportedly prevented from observing the electoral process in some locations.
A free and vibrant media, space for civil society organizations to work on democracy and human rights concerns, opposition parties able to operate without impediment, and a diversity of international and domestic election observers are essential components for free and fair elections. The imprisonment and intimidation of journalists, restrictions on NGO activities, interference with peaceful opposition party activities, and government actions to restrict political space in the lead-up to election day are inconsistent with these democratic processes and norms.
The United States has a broad and strong partnership with Ethiopia and its people. We remain committed to working with the Ethiopian Government and its people to strengthen Ethiopia’s democratic institutions, improve press freedom, and promote a more open political environment consistent with Ethiopia’s international human rights obligations.
Full text of the press statement of the European Union
By the Spokesperson, Brussels.
“Ethiopia has peacefully concluded its pre-election process and voting and many parties and participants have actively engaged in the process. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia has put hard work and organizational efforts into ensuring that as many of Ethiopia’s 36.8 million registered voters as possible had the chance to exercise their vote.
The EU is encouraged that the process was largely peaceful and orderly. It takes note of the preliminary statement of the African Union Election Observation Mission, the only international mission present to observe the elections, including the areas for further improvement identified by the Mission.
The electoral process was discussed in the framework of the EU-Ethiopia political dialogue with the Government and with the main political actors involved. Among the issues discussed, emphasis was placed on an open political space, the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and the neutrality of the electoral authorities, as vital to sustain the confidence of all voters and the accountability of those elected, as well as help combat extremism.
Arrests of journalists and opposition politicians, closure of a number of media outlets and obstacles faced by the opposition in conducting its campaign have limited the space for open debate and had a negative impact on the overall electoral environment. All parties need to adhere to the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
The EU has a long-standing and deep partnership with the people and Government of Ethiopia. This covers not just bilateral support for growth, development and democracy, but regional and global issues, such as countering terrorism and climate change and addressing migration, in which both our peoples have an interest and Ethiopia has an important role to play. The EU looks forward to continuing and deepening that partnership with the new government and the people of Ethiopia in a spirit of honesty and cooperation.”