EU observers say Ethiopia election ‘falls short’

EU observers have criticised Ethiopia’s election, as Prime Minister Meles Zenawi holds a victory rally attended by tens of thousands of people.(BBC)  
Ethiopia election marred by intimidation, say rights group
EU chief observer says Ethiopian poll was not fair  

Ethiopia vote not up to international standards: US 
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Ethiopia’s weekend elections, which gave long-time ruler Meles Zenawi a landslide victory, were “not up to international standards,” a senior US diplomat said Tuesday.

Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said that while the elections were relatively peaceful, “we note with some degree of remorse that the elections there were not up to international standards.”

Over the last 18 months, the “government has taken clear and decisive steps that would ensure that it would garner an electoral victory,” Carson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“And that is indeed what has happened, because the level of opposition representation that appears to have won seats in the legislative branch of the Ethiopian government has dropped quite significantly,” he added.

“It is important that Ethiopia move forward in strengthening its democratic institutions, and when elections are held, that it level the playing field to give everyone a free opportunity to participate without fear or favour,” he said.

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