Ethiopia’s ruling Prosperity Party was declared the winner of last month’s national elections on Saturday in a landslide, securing a second five-year term for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Ethiopia’s National Electoral Council said the ruling party won 410 seats out of 436 contested seats in the federal parliament, leaving dozens more seats vacant after a fifth of constituencies failed to vote due to unrest or logistical reasons. government is expected to be formed in October.
The vote was a major test for Abiy, who came to power in 2018 after the former prime minister resigned amid widespread protests. Abiy oversaw dramatic political reforms that led in part to a Nobel Peace Prize the following year, but critics say he is backtracking on political and media freedoms. Abiy has also received massive international criticism for his handling of the conflict in the Tigray region that has left thousands of people dead.
The June vote, which had been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic and logistical problems, was largely peaceful, but opposition parties frowned upon intimidation and intimidation. There was no voting in the Tigray region.
Abiy has hailed the election as the country’s first attempt at free and fair voting, but the United States called it “significantly flawed,” citing the detention of some opposition figures and the insecurity in parts of the second most populous country. from Africa.
The leader of the main opposition Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice party, Birhanu Nega, lost while opposition parties won just 11 seats. The Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice party has filed 207 complaints with the electoral body about the vote.
Popular opposition parties in the Oromia region, Ethiopia’s largest state, are boycotting the elections. The ruling party only ran in a few dozen constituencies.
In a social media post late Saturday, Abiy called the elections historic because they were run by an electoral body “free of any influence”. He promised to include in his new government some opposition figures who took part in the elections.
Electoral council head Birtukan Mideksa said during Saturday’s announcement that the vote was held at a time when Ethiopia was facing challenges, “but this voting process has guaranteed that people will be governed by their vote.”
She added: “I want to confirm that we have managed to hold credible elections.”
Turnout was just over 90% of the more than 37 million people registered to vote.
The Prosperity Party was formed after the dismantling of Ethiopia’s former governing coalition, which was dominated by Tigray politicians. Disagreements over that decision signaled the initial tensions between the Abiy and Tigray leaders that eventually sparked conflict in the region in November.
Although Abiy hinted in 2018 that Ethiopia will limit a prime minister’s terms to two, it is not clear whether he will act accordingly.
Desalegn Chanie, a member of Amhara’s opposition National Movement who won a seat in parliament, told The Associated Press that the Election Commission has generally performed well, but has failed in its main job of being impartial and giving an honest opinion on complaints. .
“Local election officials, gunmen and executives seized the insignia of election observers and even beat them,” he said.