SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 2 August 2021, Monday |

Ethiopia PM Abiy’s party wins landslide victory in election

Ethiopia’s election board said on Saturday that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party won the most seats in Ethiopia’s parliamentary election, a victory that assures him another term in office.

Abiy hailed the June 21 vote as the country’s first free and fair election after decades of repressive rule. However, an opposition boycott, war in the northern region of Tigray, ethnic violence and logistical challenges in some areas overshadowed the election. Voting did not take place in three of Ethiopia’s 10 regions.

Abiy’s party won 410 of 436 parliamentary seats, election board deputy chairperson Woubshet Ayele announced in the capital Addis Ababa. Chairperson Birtukan Mideksa said the board had delivered a credible election.

Opposition leader Berhanu Nega said his Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice party (Ezema) had filed 207 complaints after local officials and militiamen blocked observers in the Amhara region and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ region.

The election was the first test of voter support for Abiy, who pledged political and economic reforms when he was appointed prime minister by the governing coalition in 2018.

Within months of taking office, Abiy lifted a ban on opposition parties, released tens of thousands of political prisoners and took steps to open up one of Africa’s last untapped markets.

He now faces international pressure over the war in Tigray and accusations from rights groups that his government is rolling back some new freedoms, which it denies.