Ethiopia: How to enhance public trust in Ethiopia’s electoral process - AU election mission

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Ethiopia’s elections managerial board should put in place measures and procedures to enhance public trust in the electoral process, according to an African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) that was deployed to the 24 May 2015 parliamentary elections in the East African country.

Headed by former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, the Mission late Tuesday released a preliminary statement on the fifth democratic election in Ethiopia since 1995, saying it recognized “the incremental democratic improvement Ethiopia has made over time, moving to a multiparty democracy.”

The 59-member group, including nine long-term observers, has recommended that the National Elections Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) could enhance public trust “by adopting serialized ballot papers with duplicates, better quality indelible ink and appropriate ballot boxes”.

It has also advised the Ethiopian government to consider setting up a national civil registry to make it possible for NEBE to create a national register of voters for easy auditing and verification by electoral stakeholders.

Further, the AUEOM has suggested to the NEBE to undertake more training of independent observers and party/candidate agents to introduce a more systematic approach to their work and ensure that they produce reports that would contribute to post-election reviews, as an important aspect of citizens’ participation.

On the part of political parties, the Mission has encouraged them to comply with the Proclamation of the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and put in place measures to improve the participation of women in the electoral process as candidates and polling agents.

With regard to the media, the AUEOM mentioned the need for capacity enhancement of civil society groups and the Ethiopia Broadcasting Authority (EBA) to undertake long term media monitoring and issue public reports during the electoral process.

“The Ethiopian parliamentary elections were organised and conducted in accordance with the constitutional and legal provisions as well as the rule and regulations governing the conduct of elections in Ethiopia, as were generally consistent with the AU Guidelines on the Conduct of Elections in Africa.

“The AUEOM concludes that the Parliamentary Elections were calm, peaceful, and credible as it provided an opportunity for the Ethiopian people to express their choices at the polls,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the nine long-term observers, who were deployed in Ethiopia by the AU from 19 April 2015 to observe the pre-election phase of the electoral cycle, remain in the country until 7 June to observe the immediate post-election phase.

Ethiopia Constitution stipulates that a political party or a coalition of political parties that has the greatest number of seats in the House of People's Representatives shall form the Government.

For this year’s polls, there were 547 constituencies across the country, 45,795 polling stations and 226,000 election officers.

A total of 36.8 million voters were registered, 99.5% of eligible voters for the 2015 elections.

In its statement, the AUEOM said it was encouraged that 48% of the registered voters were women, although women represented only 27.9% of candidates.
-0- PANA AR/SEG 27May2015

27 may 2015 09:44:22

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