February 10, 2010

"Ethiopia sets rules for election observers"

Ethiopia sets rules for election observers

ADDIS ADABA — The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) said Wednesday it has drawn up a code of conduct for international election observers, the national news agency ENA reported.

NEBE Chairperson Merga Bekana said the directive clearly states by whom the observers are invited, the procedures they must respect while on duty and how they are supposed to make their comments, following unrest during a 2005 vote.

He said the directive "was prepared to enable election observers to discharge their responsibilities in accordance with the rule of law (and Ethiopia's) election law".

The code of conduct stipulates observers must carry out their duties in a "neutral" way.

In the last elections in 2005 deep differences emerged between the Ethiopian government and international observers, notably those from the European Union.

Elections are scheduled to be held on May 23, the first at a national level since the 2005 vote that saw the opposition record its best-ever score.

But the opposition complained that the vote, where the ruling coalition was victorious, was marred by widespread fraud.

They refused to accept the results and organised demonstrations that were violently put down, leaving more then 200 people dead, according to an Ethiopian parliamentary commission of inquiry.

No comments: