Ethiopia : Government and the Opposition Trade Allegations

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s main opposition coalition said on Wednesday that some of its candidates were being prevented at gunpoint from registering for national elections in May.

The eight-party coalition, Medrek, also said it had obtained a ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) newsletter calling on party officials to follow, photograph and document the movements of opposition members.

“In a lot of areas we have faced serious problems,” Medrek spokesman Merera Gudina told a news conference. “In some areas our candidates were turned back at gunpoint. A candidate’s driver was told to leave town immediately or his car would be burned,” he said.

The Horn of Africa country’s election will be the first since a government victory in 2005 was disputed by the opposition. About 200 street protesters were killed by security forces and the main opposition leaders imprisoned. Analysts say Medrek is the main threat to the 18-year-old government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, but the ruling party is still expected to win the May 23 poll.

— Full Story (Reuters Alert Net)



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