The African Union Election Observation Mission (AU-EOM) has hailed Ethiopia’s general elections held on Sunday, May 24, calm, peaceful and credible.
Presenting the preliminary statement of the Mission on Tuesday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President of Namibia and Head of the AU-EOM, noted that the general elections provided an opportunity for the Ethiopian people to express their choices at the polls
AU had deployed a total of 59 observers of whom 50 are short- term observers and 9 long-term observers in the country since 19 April to observe the process of Ethiopia’s general election organized for the fifth time after the demise of the Derge regime in 1991.
Recalling that the 1st democratic election was held in 1995 in the country, Pohamba said the AU-EOM noted that Ethiopia’s adoption of democracy since 1995 has brought about rapid development, which has contributed to making the country one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
“The political environment since the arrival of the AU-EOM in Ethiopia has been generally peaceful and calm and has remained so up till election day,” said the head of the Mission.
The AU-EOM has commended Ethiopia’s electoral body, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) for putting in place initiatives to enhance participation of women candidates from 10 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2015.
Pohamba also stated that Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections have seen an increase in number of registered political parties, whereby NEBE registered 58 contending parties.
“The AU-EOM is satisfied with the conduct of the political parties, candidates and supporters in the lead up to the elections, and encourages them to maintain the same until the final announcement of results and the post-election period,” he said.
“Cognizant that tabulation of results is currently on-going, the AU-EOM encourages political parties, candidates, their supporters and the electorate to maintain the prevailing atmosphere of peace that characterized pre-election and election day, and urges for the use of the legal channels of complaints and appeals should there be any post electoral dispute,” said Pohamba.
The AU Election Observation Mission (AU-EOM) is expected to release its final report on the assessment of Ethiopia’s elections within two months, which is to be published on the AU website, according to Pohamba.