Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Israel election: No clear winner, exit polls suggest - BBC News

Friday, March 13, 2015

Ethiopian Opposition Leaders Rule Out Candidacy In May Elections | AFKInsider

By Bloomberg Africa Published: March 12, 2015, 11:11 am

By William Davison | From Bloomberg News
Two of Ethiopia’s most prominent opposition figures said they aren’t standing in May’s parliamentary elections after unfavorable decisions by the Horn of Africa nation’s electoral authorities.
The sole opposition lawmaker in parliament, Girma Seifu, and the head of the three-year-old Blue Party, Yilkal Getnet, said in interviews that they’re victims of biased judgments that will result in another landslide victory for the ruling coalition on May 24.
“This election is only ceremonial, it’s not really to win the democratic process and empower the people,” Yilkal said by phone Thursday from the capital, Addis Ababa. “The government totally closed everything.”
In 2010 elections, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front and allied parties won all but two seats in a 547-member lower chamber. The electoral environment was “heavily” tilted in favor of the coalition, according to the European Union.
Last month Yilkal lost out in a lottery to decide who could stand for a parliamentary seat which more than the maximum of 12 candidates wanted to compete for, he said. In January, the electoral board ruled that a faction of Girma’s Unity for Democracy and Justice party that he didn’t support legitimately represents the whole organization, he said Thursday by phone from the capital.
The electoral board hasn’t given a reason why around 200 Blue Party candidates out of 400 submitted were not registered, said Yilkal. The lottery process unfairly favors parties who stood in the last election, he said.

Candidate Registration

A court appeal over the board’s decision on UDJ won’t be concluded in time for the polls, Girma said.
“They already finished registering the candidates and we are not in that process, we’re already out of that election,” he said. “The clear consequence is that there is no real election.”
The opposition complaints will be investigated, said Wondimu Golla, the deputy head of the service and relations department at the electoral board.
“We are always doing our task based on the electoral law,” he said by phone from Adama city on Wednesday.
Earlier this year, the U.K. aid agency redirected block grants to Ethiopia’s government into specific programs, partly because of concerns over political rights and the impact on electoral competition.
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Thursday, March 12, 2015


United Arab Party - a Surprise New Force in Israeli Election

Sole opponent in Ethiopia parly won't run in May | News24

Ethiopian flags fly at half mast in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after the death of Meles Zenawi. (Elias Asmare, AP)

Ethiopian flags fly at half mast in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after the death of Meles Zenawi. (Elias Asmare, AP)

Addis Ababa - Ethiopia's sole opposition member of parliament said on Wednesday he would not run in the May election and his party would not field candidates because of state meddling in the party's leadership, casting a new shadow over the vote.
Rights groups have criticised the government for stifling dissent in the media and detaining opponents in the run-up to the election. They have also accused the authorities of abuses in previous polls. The government has denied all the charges.
In 2005, 174 opposition politicians won seats in the 547-seat parliament but many did not take them up after pronouncing the vote rigged. In 2010, Girma Seifu, deputy president of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), was the sole opponent to win.
"I will not run for the upcoming election. It is because the government forced us not to run," Girma, 48, told Reuters. "All of the UDJ nominees are not running for this election."
The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of four regional parties, has been in power in the Horn of Africa country for about a quarter of a century since communist rulers were overthrown. Analysts do not expect that to change in the May vote.
Analysts said the UDJ was one of only two parties that have been vocal opponents of the government. The other is the Blue party, which is also expected to field candidates.
Girma said a handful of people in the UDJ had challenged the choice of party president last year but that the election commission exaggerated the dispute so it could step in to put "an individual who was not part of the party" into the top job.
Government spokesperson Shimeles Kemal denied this, saying the panel had acted to resolve a row and ruled in favour of a rival camp to Girma's. He said Girma could challenge this in court.
Guarantees free speech
"The electoral board is entitled to settle such disputes," the spokesperson said. "Girma's group is aggrieved by this decision and they have started to demonise and incriminate the board by coming up with this conspiracy theory."
Ethiopia has many registered parties, but Girma said they did not represent a genuine challenge to the government. "Most of them are established in the name of opposition, but they are not real opposition," he said.
He said he had filed a case seeking to reclaim the UDJ name.
The EPRDF, previously led by the late rebel commander and premier Meles Zenawi and now by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, has been widely credited for rebuilding Ethiopia's shattered economy after years of famine and conflict.
But critics accuse the government of using authoritarian tactics, such as detaining bloggers and silencing opponents.
The government says it guarantees free speech, only detains those who break the law and runs fair elections in which opponents are free to stand.