23 June 2015

Ethiopia: UK Minister for Africa 'Expresses Concern' Over Ethiopian Elections

As the ruling EPRDF in Ethiopia claimed a 100% historic election victory, Britain's Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, calls on the government in Ethiopia "to increase diversity in parliament and ensure the voices of all citizens are heard", a statement from the UK's Foreign Office said yesterday.

The statement quoted minister Duddridge as saying he welcomed "the fact that the recent Ethiopian parliamentary elections were conducted in a generally peaceful environment and that the Ethiopian people turned out in large numbers."

But he said he agreed with the "European Union concerns about the negative impact on the electoral environment of arrests of opposition members and journalists, closure of media outlets, and obstacles faced by the opposition while campaigning."

On the 100% electoral win for the ruling EPRDF, Mr. Duddridge urged the government in Ethiopia "to explore ways to increase the diversity of political parties in future parliaments, and to ensure those who voted for other parties this time still feel their voice is heard in the next five years."

Mr. Duddridge's comments came following the announcement on June 22nd by Ethiopia's electoral board of the results of Ethiopia's 5th general elections held on May 24th. The results show a 100% win for the ruling EPRDF and its regional allies which took 546 of the 547 seats in the national parliament, a globally thinning phenomenon and against the party's own record in the past 24 years.

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