Ethiopian opposition chief rejects poll result

An Ethiopian opposition party leader rejected the results of parliamentary elections and demanded a new poll.

Addis Ababa: An Ethiopian opposition party
leader Wednesday rejected the results of parliamentary elections
which gave long-time ruler Meles Zenawi a landslide win and
demanded a new poll.

"In view of the fact that both the election process and
the voting day were not free and fair... AEUP has decided not
to accept the result of the elections," said Hailu Shawl, the
head of All Ethiopians Unity Party.

Hailu told reporters that the party had also decided to
demand a re-run as its observers were beaten and driven away
from polling stations across the country.

"We have asked the NEBE (electoral panel) to conduct both
national and regional re-election of people`s representatives
as soon as possible," he added.

Hailu was the leader of the now-defunct Coalition for
Unity and Democracy which made unprecedented wins in the 2005
elections whose results the party also disputed, sparking
violence that killed some 200 people.

His All Ethiopian Unity Party is not part of the
eight-member Medrek opposition coalition that hade been more
visible in Ethiopia`s electoral process and Sunday`s

He said the provisional results which showed the ruling
EPRDF party had won 499 seats in results from 536
constituencies and Medrek only one in the capital Addis Ababa
were not true.

"Look at the results, they don`t look real. We`ll wait
for what the board says and decide what path to take," Hailu
said. "Going to court is an option."

Medrek itself said yesterday the electoral process was
flawed, but one of its leaders ruled out street protests such
as the ones five years ago which led bloodshed.

European Union observer mission also said the weekend
polls were unfair, citing restricted political freedoms and
use of state resources to by the ruling party.

The United States` top diplomat for Africa, Johnnie
Carson, also said they had failed to meet international

However Meles, who has ruled Africa`s second most
populous nation for nearly two decades, said the results sent
a clear message to the opposition and warned them against
causing any troubles.

"I believe that the people of Ethiopia... have
unequivocally sent a clear message to the opposition parties
in our country," he told tens of thousands of supporters who
turned out yesterday for a victory rally.


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