Ethiopia rejects ‘biased’ EU report on May’s elections

Ethiopian government supporters have been angered by foreign criticism of the polls
Ethiopian government supporters have been angered by foreign criticism of the polls

The Ethiopian government has rejected as biased the findings of a European Union report on May’s parliamentary elections.

BBC – The EU concluded that the polls failed to meet international standards and were marred by serious flaws.

However, the Ethiopian foreign ministry said the EU’s election observer mission had itself failed to meet Ethiopian or international standards.

It added that the report was flawed and based on preconceived ideas.

“This┬áreport amounts to yet another biased political indictment against the democratization process in Ethiopia and the victimisation of the country,” said the ministry in a statement.

It accused the EU of “excessive focus” on the fact that the elections further consolidated the power of the governing EPRDF party.

The ministry says this demonstrated that the mission was “primarily preoccupied with the results of the elections and fate of the ruling party rather than the actual conduct of the elections”.

In May, the EPRDF trounced the opposition, with only one opposition MP elected to the 536-seat parliament.

The ministry also accused the EU of succumbing to pressure from the rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Last month, HRW issued a report accusing the government of withholding aid from opposition supporters.

Aid

The EU report was released in Brussels earlier this month after the head of the mission was refused a visa to travel to Addis Ababa.

An African Union observer mission found that the polls broadly reflected the will of the Ethiopian people.

Relations between the EU and Ethiopia soured in the aftermath of 2005 elections when the government accused the then chief observer of siding with the opposition and contributing to violent protests that ensued.

The EU, one of Ethiopia’s biggest donors, froze its aid to the country. Normal relations and financial support have since resumed.

The BBC’s Uduak Amimo in Addis Ababa says it remains unclear what impact the EU report will have on aid and ties with the Ethiopian government.