[Updated with a remark from MEDREK’s spokesperson]
* No opposition party lodged complaint as per the procedure
* Don’t disregard the win by EPRDF affiliate parties
* Bonga will vote on June 14 .
The National Election Board Ethiopia (NEBE) admonished opposition parties and the media in a presser held today.
There is no voting day complaint from opposition parties, the Board’s chief, Professor Merga Bekana, claimed today. Adding that one complaint lodged by the ruling party’s Oromia region wing, OPDO/EPRDF, is under review.
Merga Bekana’s statement contradicted a statement from MEDREK, a major opposition coalition. Last week, MEDREK claimed to have submitted a list of its grievances regarding the voting day and subsequent developments. MEDREK’s officials reiterated that to HornAffairs today.
An official in the NEBE clarified to HornAffairs that the Board chief was referring to complaints submitted through the appropriate procedure.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean there were no letters submitted from one or another opposition parties. However, none was provided through the appropriate channels. Voting day complains should be lodged at the concerned polling station and appealed to higher offices”, the official explained to HornAffairs on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorized to comment on the matter.
However, MEDREK’s spokesperson, Tilahun Endeshaw, claimed that they had submitted complaints following the procedure. In a phone remark to HornAffairs, the spokesperson said, “I don’t have the exact numbers now, but we have lodged complaints at several polling stations and electoral districts”.
MEDREK’s chairman, Proff. Beyene Petros claimed, in reference to the overall process: “whenever we tried to submit our challenges and hurdles…. the Board was not there and was creating various mechanisms to delay them. Our complaints in some areas were not received because the election officers were not available.”
Merega categorically dismissed the statements issued by the opposition parties. The two major parties MEDREK and Semayawi(Blue) party rejected the election results last week.
Merega’s announcement dashed hopes that the opposition could get some seats through a possible NEBE decision for recounts and reruns.
In the presser, Merega did also criticize the media for reporting as if EPRDF won all the seats.
Last week, NEBE announced provisional results for 80% of the federal and state legislative seats . All the announced 442 seats Federal and 1508 State legislatures’ seats went to the EPRDF and its five allies – which are operational in Afar, Benishangul/Gumuz, Gambella, Ethio-Somali and Harari states.
Merega Bekana contended it is inaccurate to report as if EPRDF was the sole winner.
Though the other parties are openly known as EPRDF affiliates, Merega insisted the parties are registered as independent parties not as “affiliates”.
Eventually, Merga urged that opposition parties should respect the voters and the work of the 250,000 election facilitators in about 45,000 polling stations.
“This is not the end of the world, there will be another election after five years”, Merega remarked in an apparent acknowledgment of the overwhelming margin of the results.
The Board also disclosed that that the delayed polling of Bonga electoral district will take place on June 14. The poll was postponed after a man died due to a clash between supporters of the EPRDF’s candidate and independent MP Ashebir Weldegiorgis(PhD) who is seeking re-election.