EU deployed its election observers mission across Ethiopia
From Sudan Tribune - Thursday 29 April 2010 by Tesfa-Alem Tekle:
April 28, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) — The European Union on Tuesday dispatched a first group of its election monitors throughout Ethiopia, ahead of next month’s national election.
A first phase of 90 observers unit on Tuesday left the capital, Addis Ababa, to the different regions of the country.
With a budget of eight million Euros, the EU will deploy a total of 150 monitors in Ethiopia, with 60 more observers to land in the horn of Africa’s country one week before polls open on May 23 elections. The bloc’s mission said.
The deployment comes after the Ethiopian government signed a memorandum of understanding with EU this week.
"They will observe all phases of the election from the opening of polling stations to voting, closing ad counting," said the statement.
"Their findings will be part of the overall evaluation and assessment of the process by the European Union Election Observation Mission."
Earlier this month, the head of the EU monitoring team said it will remain impartial after the bloc was accused of bias by Addis Ababa in the 2005 polls The EU observers will asses the electoral campaign, voting day, compilation of results and post-election activity, including complaints and appeals procedures.
"They will also evaluate the general political electoral context, the work of the election administration, media environment and role of civil society, the human rights situation as relates to elections, and the participation of women and minorities," the EU observer mission further said.
Ethiopia’s biggest opposition coalition, The Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (Forum) last week said that it does not consider the African Union and European Union Election Observers neutral.
"We know how the AU and EU observed previous elections in Ethiopia. This time, too, we don’t expect any impartial observation from them," Beyene Petros, chairman of Forum, told Ethiopian Reporter.
Beyene added that his party had no idea as to what exactly the election observers were doing in Ethiopia and that the observers have not made any attempts to talk to any of his party members, according to Reporter.
Around 32 million Ethiopians will go to polls to cast their votes for the May 23 national polls, country’s fourth elections since the fall down of Communist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991. (ST)