The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) was the only observer team (besides the biased AU mission) observing Ethiopia’s fourth National Election held on 23 May 2010.
EU EOM, led by Mr. Thijs Berman, Member of the European Parliament, was in Ethiopia from 14 April to 21 June 2010 with the invitation of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). EU EOM was made up of 170 observers from 25 European Union Member States, as well as, Norway, Switzerland and Canada.
The Mission’s preliminary report that noted the election fall short of international and regional commitments for elections as well as the laws of Ethiopia was strongly rebuked by the Ethiopian regime. After long delay, the mission has released the final report today. The Ethiopian regime denied visas to members of the observation mission who planned to be in Ethiopia, today, for the release of the report.
- The electoral process fell short of international commitments for elections regarding the transparency of the process and the lack of a level playing field for all contesting parties
- The electoral process was constrained, as was the full, non-discriminatory enjoyment of fundamental rights.
- Freedoms of movement, assembly and expression were not always respected
- The Mass Media Law, the Charities and Societies Proclamation, and the Anti-Terrorism Law have curtailed the operation of relevant national stakeholders, disengaging them from the process
- The role of Ethiopian civil society organizations in the electoral process was severely curtailed
- The ruling party’s presence throughout the country was unrivalled by opposition parties, especially in rural areas
- Blurring of the distinction between the ruling party and local administration
- Use of state resources in the ruling party’s campaign
- The volume and consistency of complaints against the ruling party, local administrations and in some cases the police was a matter of concern
- Reports received on the fear that opposition candidates expressed regarding the consequences of their political activities
- State-owned media did not provide a balanced coverage in its programming
- Women are under-represented in the Ethiopian political scene and within the electoral administration
- The lack of complete polling station lists, lack of a national voter’s register damaged the overall transparency of the process
- In 27% of cases observed, polling station results were different to those previously recorded by observers at polling stations
- The lack of objective safeguards against multiple registration and existing voting procedures are inadequate to prevent possible attempts at fraud
- In 25% of observed polling stations copies of results forms were not given to party agents and in nearly half, results were not posted outside the polling stations
- The lack of a complete breakdown of results damaged the transparency of the results process as well as being contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Law
- EU report says Ethiopia’s elections had many flaws? – Washington Post
EU Observer’s Final Report: Let Berhanu Nega return to Ethiopia? – EthioGuardian.com
- Ethiopia’s Ruling Party `Heavily Favored’ in Election – Bloomberg