On behalf of the Africa Liberal Network (ALN) I call on the international community to join me in expressing concern about the upcoming Ethiopian elections, scheduled for 14 and 21 April, around which an increasing number of incidents of unfair practices are being reported. As well as a petition signed by thirty-four Ethiopian opposition parties taking issue with a number of electoral irregularities, ALN member party, the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), have brought a number of concerns to the network’s attention.
1) The withholding of financial electoral campaign support for political parties by the government, contrary to long standing practice and the Electoral Code,
2) Opposition candidates being denied access to the media,
3) Reportedly wide-spread intimidation of voters by local officials aligned with the ruling party,
4) Irregularities in voter registration by the National Election Board, including the issuing of multiple ballots and a failure to check the residential status of voters, and,
5) Reported abuse of government funds by the ruling party for the purposes of campaigning.
Despite continued dialogue with the National Election Board, the Ethiopian Democratic Party have withdrawn all but one candidate from the election in protest against continued practices that they deem to render the electoral process neither free nor fair.
I urge all parties, as well as the National Election Board, to engage in open dialogue regarding these issues, and for the international community to closely monitor the elections in the interests of upholding democracy in Ethiopia.
Olivier Kamitatu Etsu
Africa Liberal Network President
+24 381 268 1774
Africa Liberal Network Coordinator
+27 72 232 0127 or +44 75 5700 9023