Panafrican News Agency

AU Ethiopia election observer mission gives vote clean bill of health

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia's General Elections on 21 June, 2021 has concluded that the vote was conducted in an "orderly, peaceful and credible manner".

In its preliminary report issued on Wednesday, the Mission said "despite some operational, logistical, security, political and COVID-19 related challenges, overall, the pre-election and Election Day processes were conducted in an orderly, peaceful and credible manner".

The AUEOM, led by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, said there was nothing, in their estimation, that distracted from the credible conduct of the elections.

"The Mission, therefore, commends all Ethiopians for the demonstrated commitment to the democratic development of the country."

The AUEOM called on all stakeholders to remain calm in the remaining electoral phase.

"The Mission urges any stakeholder that is dissatisfied with the electoral outcome to seek redress through the established legal and institutional mechanisms," the report said.

The AUEOM recommended to the Government of Ethiopia to maintain, sustain, and enhance the political freedoms engendered by the ongoing reforms.

It urged the government to urgently undertake measures to heal societal divisions through national reconciliation, dialogue, and inclusivity and ensure commitment to democratic governance beyond the holding of regular elections.

It asked the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to undertake capacity building for staff through training, peer learning and exposure to electoral processes of other countries to enhance their experience.

It should also continue to provide incentives to political parties to encourage increased participation of women and persons with disabilities and extend campaign funding to independent candidates.

The Mission also urged the electoral management body to strengthen and intensify civic and voter education particularly in rural areas and strengthen collaboration with political parties, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders to enhance the credibility of the electoral process.

The NEBE was also asked to consider increasing the number of polling stations with sizable voters per polling station for ease of ballot counting and ensure sufficient and timely delivery of voting materials to polling stations to avoid interruption of voting.

Ethiopia was also asked to increase and strengthen women participation and representation within party structures especially in leadership positions and as candidates.

It asked the African Union to support the strengthening of democratic institutions in Ethiopia and encourage and support the Ethiopian authorities to undertake national reconciliation initiatives.

The Mission also asked the international community to continue to support the strengthening of democratic institutions in Ethiopia, especially NEBE, civil society organisations and political parties.

-0- PANA MA 24June2021