Ethiopia: PM Desalegn vows more jobs if his party wins polls

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn speaks during an interview with Reuters inside his office in the capital Addis Ababa, October 10, 2013. Ethiopia plans a debut Eurobond once it has secured a credit rating but will not open its "cash cow" telecoms firm or state banks to foreigners while their revenues are needed to fund new infrastructure, the prime minister said. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri (ETHIOPIA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has vowed to work towards creating more jobs for youths if his Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won the parliamentary elections, currently underway.

“We are aware that there is dissatisfaction among the youth due to lack of job opportunities,” Hailemariam told Anadolu Agency in Wolayita Zone after he cast his ballot in the parliamentary vote.

“If elected, we will work hard to improve this and work to build the capacity of the youth,” he added.

He also promise that, if it won the vote, the EPRDF would also focus on the development of rural areas and continue with the agricultural development-led industrialization.

“Our focus will be transforming our economy into industrialization. We have been working very hard towards economic transformation,” he said, “The private sector should also give emphasis to industrialization, he added.

Commenting on the polls, Hailemariam  said that the process is “good in general.”

Ethiopians started flocking to the polling stations across the country as of 6.00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) to elect a new parliament as well as regional state councils.

Some 36.8 million voters, including 17.8 million females, are registered to cast votes in the elections.

Fifty-eight political parties are competing for the 547 seat parliament and regional state councils. The parties have fielded a total of 5,819 candidates.

The EPRDF, which won the past four elections, has fielded a total of 1,350 candidates – many more than any of the country’s opposition parties.

Many observers believe that a landslide victory is likely for the ruling EPRDF party which won the past four elections.