Ethiopia votes in greatest electoral test yet for PM Abiy

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An Ethiopian man casts his vote in the general election at a polling center in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Monday, June 21, 2021. Ethiopia was voting on Monday in the greatest electoral test yet for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as insecurity and logistical issues meant ballots wouldn't be cast in more than 100 constituencies of the 547 across the country. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia was voting Monday in the greatest electoral test yet for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as war and logistical issues meant ballots wouldn’t be cast in more than 100 of the 547 constituencies across the country.

The election, delayed from last year, is the centerpiece of a reform drive by Abiy, whose rise to power in 2018 seemed to signal a break with decades of authoritarian rule and led to him winning a Nobel Peace Prize the following year. He has described the poll as “the nation’s first attempt at free and fair elections.”

Long lines of voters were seen in some parts of the capital, Addis Ababa, while security was stepped up across Africa’s second-most populous country. Military vehicles were parked in key locations in the capital. More than 37 million Ethiopians were expected to vote.

“We need a government that brings us peace, unity and that will stop the killing everywhere, and we also need to be pulled out from these ethnic divisions,” voter Desalgn Shume said.

Abiy’s ruling Prosperity Party, formed in 2019 by merging groups that made up the previous ruling coalition, is widely expected to cement its hold on power. The party that wins a majority of seats in the House of Peoples’ Representatives will form the next government. Final election results are expected within 10 days.

Abiy’s party registered 2,432 candidates in the election. The next largest party, Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice, was fielding 1,385 candidates. A total of 47 parties were seeking seats.

The spirit of this election “is much better in many ways than the previous elections,” Abiy said Monday, adding that the country is “witnessing the atmosphere of democracy.”

But opposition groups have accused Ethiopia’s ruling party of harassment, manipulation and threats of violence that echo abuses of the past. Some prominent opposition parties are boycotting the election, notably in the country’s most populous region, Oromia. Others say they were prevented from campaigning in several parts of the country.

“My expectation is that (the election) would hopefully, with minor difficulties, be completed in a credible way,” opposition candidate Berhanu Nega with the Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice party said while voting.

Getnet Worku, secretary general of the opposition ENAT party, accused Prosperity Party members of campaigning inside polling booths and said five of his party’s agents were detained for several hours, calling it “a matter of intimidation.”

Ethiopia’s election chief, Birtukan Midekssa, told reporters that some election-related problems had been witnessed in the Amhara, Afar and Southern regions with some observers having difficulty in moving around and doing their job, which she called “concerning.” Some opposition candidates also are having trouble moving around, and “this may cause a problem in the election process and its result, so it has to stop immediately.”

Birtukan earlier had acknowledged “serious challenges” but noted that more parties and candidates are contesting than ever before. “I call on the international community to support Ethiopia on its democratic journey, stressful and imperfect though it is,” she wrote in the U.S.-based magazine The National Interest.

Abiy also is facing growing international criticism over the war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, sparked in part because Tigray’s now-fugitive leaders objected to Ethiopia postponing the election last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. No date has been set for voting in Tigray’s 38 constituencies.

Tigray’s former leaders, who are fighting Ethiopian forces and those from neighboring Eritrea, have reported fierce new combat in recent days. Ethiopia’s defense forces have called the fighting challenging because of the rough terrain. Thousands of civilians have been killed and famine has begun in what observers describe as a drawn-out guerrilla war.

Meanwhile, outbreaks of ethnic violence have killed hundreds of people in the Amhara, Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions in recent months.

One resident of the capital, who gave only his first name, Samuel, said he wouldn’t be voting. “Two or three years ago I would have voted for Abiy, but now there are a lot of troubles in our country,” he said.

International concern has been growing about the election. The U.S. has said it is “gravely concerned about the environment under which these upcoming elections are to be held,” and the European Union said it will not observe the vote after its requests to import communications equipment were denied.

In response, Ethiopia said external observers “are neither essential nor necessary to certify the credibility of an election,” although it has since welcomed observers deployed by the African Union.

The United Nations secretary-general has noted the “challenging” environment and warned against acts of violence.

“It is our duty to remain united and not the government’s,” one resident of the capital, Eskedar Teklegiorges, said over the weekend as hundreds of police officers paraded in a show of force ahead of the vote.

Another voter noted the wide range of candidates running.

“Last time we didn’t have a choice, but this is totally different,” Girmachew Asfaw said.

19 COMMENTS

  1. It is u the medias person who shaps the narrative and you choose which parts of aspects our society you will future, you are not choosing the research and renovation of the country. You are not choosing the nr. Of PhD, you are not choosing the women in higher education and government position. ..so it depends on the narrative that the western media select, u selected that particular sett of titles in order to present the most negative picture, that is yours choice, I might choice an other sett, so depends on what media and you decided. Ethiopia is on right tracks despite the fact the on going problems in tigri coused by TPLF gangs, now the poor tigress are paying the price. Not single protests came from USA, European union, western national when the Tplf gangs fire a rocket to Asmara and Bahardar. Look now where the entire tigress ends up? Back to 1984 begging for foods. And the Western media like to show the starving face of tigress once again full of flyes roaming around the face.

  2. Great news for the great nation of Tigray and bad news for the failed nation Ethiopia. At least we are building barriers between us and what was that country? Etopa?. You have your raccoon head leader and we have brave, loyal and great leaders.
    Gracias!!

  3. The word Ethiopia voted is misleading. How could Ethiopia vote when regions like Somali and Tigray, half the population of Benshangul as well as many areas in Oromia and Southern region are not voting. The country is at war. Ethiopian army is in a verge of being extinct. RIP to those who lost they life. Just in the last couple of days over 15K lost their life

    https://youtu.be/nM2VXdtO5EU

  4. Let sanity reign over stupidity, truth and honesty over lies and deception. Ethiopia raise your hand to God and pray for a better day to come. Not the racoon head again.

  5. I’m glad nazret.com comeback again! This is the season different ideas should be discussed, revealed etc without blood and flesh.

    Tigray shall prevail!

    You start you finish and the ending line is at East!

  6. If any election can make a government there were no reason fighting with TPLF; in the same fashion if any election can make a government and there must be a good reason to fight back the elected government regardless of!

    Tigray shall prevail!!! #Free Jawar Mohammed , #free Bekele Gerba

    The prophetic ending line will be East!

    • Amen to that Abaw. The forces of good are winning, be it in Tigray or Oromia.

      Thank you Nazret for your courage and dedication to bring us a true sand reliable news. I know you are on the side of the oppressed

  7. Is the number of people who voted for can prove the legitimacy of Ethiopia’s election? No!!! Three years ago 5miilion people voted for TPLF and they called it illegal, now whatever the number of people voted for they are calling it legit. Majority of Ethiopians are so bankrupted! Look! Since governments in Africa are not permanent I will wait for the next vicious circle. የዛኔ እነሆ ጥርስ ማፉዋጨት ይሆናል:: you people as well will reap what you are sowing currently.

  8. How about that? How about that!!! Did you have the chance to read some of the comments by these bigoted ‘advocates’ among us? The use such words of desperation as ‘sham election’ way before June 21. They have the nerve to tell us that the solution for the current ills that country faces is not peaceful election but the destruction of the system/fabric that has been holding the country together. They ended up eating their crow right in front of watchful eyes.

    • Mr. Ittu,
      ‘Peaceful election?’ What are the requirements for a peaceful elections? Is the country is in a good shape to held an election? The answer is No! Only election doesn’t make a democratic government. Can you tell us why the country is unable to held an election in some parts of Oromiya, Amara Tigray and benishangul region?
      Mark my word you will definitely start complaining Abiy’s regime within two years.

      • Obbo Aba Mela,

        Long time no see! I meant to ask you this last time but I was distracted. Do know who won the World Series and who were the MVP’S then in 1904 and 1994? I have no success finding the champs in those years.

        Get vaccinated, keep wearing face masks and stay safe!!!

  9. I may add this as a reminder to my very dear countrymen/women among us. The fight against the pandemic is not over. Here and in Europe the virus is still spreading. It is not as bad as it used to but it is not over yet. People are still dying from it even though in fewer numbers. The pandemic is rearing its head even in countries once touted as success stories both in controlling the spread and the vaccination drive. Just look at such ‘success’ story nations as Israel and UAE. Israel just reimposed its face mask mandate. We should keep wearing face masks indoors and get vaccinated. This virus is showing the ability to continue mutating. Let’s hope and pray that it will not reinvent itself into something with the ability to evade existing vaccines. If they tell you to take a booster jab, take it. Stay safe y’all!!!!!

  10. My hommie Chairman Debre just shot me an email from the battle front. He told me that his forces have just launched an offensive on all fronts and taken several towns in Tigray and Eritrea. Mega cities that include Adigrat, Axum, Gondar, Mekele, Keren, Teseney, Massawa, Dessie, Nefasit, Bahir Dar, Semera, Kombolcha and Assab are all in the hands of his indomitable army. Asmara is surrounded and President Isaias had fled the city and his country. He is hiding in Jeddah under an assumed name. Chairman Debre also told me that he is planning to enter Addis/Finfine on Friday. His men are sorting out the terms of surrender with Abiy and his men. He is going to send me first class flight ticket so I can join him during his victory celebration on Sunday. I’m so excited!!!!
    Beginning this coming Monday calling Tigray just as Tigray will be prohibited and deemed illegal. Everyone of you must call her The People’s Republic of Tigray. Also he is going to liberate my people and establish a separate Republic of Oromia a week from Monday and he will make me the president, prime minister, finance and defense minister there. He pledged to lend me 100,000 soldiers from his one million standing army since all Oromos and Amharas don’t know how to fight and be soldiers. So a week from Monday don’t you dare call me just Ittu. You better call me President/Premier His Holiness Ittu! By the way, Chairman Debre, Foreign Minister Getaches Asefa and I will tour the USA beginning July 1st to hug you all our friends and to celebrate 4th of July with everyone here. I can’t wait! I’m so excited that ‘the gold race’ has finally liberated me and my Oromos!!!

  11. My hommie Chairman Debre just shot me an email from the battle front. He told me that his forces have just launched an offensive on all fronts and taken several towns in Tigray and Eritrea. Mega cities that include Adigrat, Axum, Gondar, Mekele, Keren, Teseney, Massawa, Dessie, Nefasit, Bahir Dar, Semera, Kombolcha and Assab are all in the hands of his indomitable army. Asmara is surrounded and President Isaias had fled the city and his country. He is hiding in Jeddah under an assumed name. Chairman Debre also told me that he is planning to enter Addis/Finfine on Friday. His men are sorting out the terms of surrender with Abiy and his men. He is going to send me first class flight ticket so I can join him during his victory celebration on Sunday. I’m so excited!!!!
    Beginning this coming Monday calling Tigray just as Tigray will be prohibited and deemed illegal. Every one of you must call her The People’s Republic of Tigray. Also he is going to liberate my people and establish a separate Republic of Oromia a week from Monday and he will make me the president, prime minister, finance and defense minister there. He pledged to lend me 100,000 soldiers from his one million standing army since all Oromos and Amharas don’t know how to fight and be soldiers. So a week from Monday don’t you dare call me just Ittu. You better call me President/Premier His Holiness Ittu! By the way, Chairman Debre, Foreign Minister Getachew Assefa and I will tour the USA beginning July 1st to hug you all our friends and to celebrate 4th of July with everyone here. I can’t wait! I’m so excited that ‘the gold race’ has finally liberated me and my Oromos!!!

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