Joined: 06 Jan 2005
|Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:49 am Post subject: EU Observers to monitor Ethiopian elections
|Observers to monitor Ethiopian elections
Tuesday March 22, 2005 11:38 - (SA)
The European Union is to send nearly 160 observers to Ethiopia to monitor general elections in May in what should be the biggest of such missions by the bloc, mission chief Ana Gomez said.
The EU was determined "to ensure a very professional, independent and impartial job, so that all the Ethiopians can believe this will be a genuine election," she said at a press conference.
Nine delegates have already arrived in the Ethiopian capital to prepare the ground. Another 50 observers are due on April 15 and the others are expected around May 10.
The election for the federal parliament and eight regional assemblies will be held May 15. No Ethiopian poll has ever been monitored by international observers.
"The very big difference with the previous elections is that there is international observation at the demand of the government and the opposition," said Gomez.
She expressed concern however about media access, and the independence of the national election board.
EU delegates who arrived Saturday met with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and other Ethiopian officials Monday and were to see members of the country's opposition on Tuesday.
The election will be the third since the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front came to power in 1991.