May 26, 2005
The EU speaks, again
Here is the full story: EU observers say Ethiopia's electoral board has lost control of vote counting
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - Ethiopia's electoral board appears to have lost control of the vote counting for the May 15 legislative polls, European Union election observers said in a report obtained by the Associated Press Wednesday.
The confidential report said the EU might have to make a public denunciation of developments to distance itself from "the lack of transparency, and assumed rigging" of the vote.
All the criticisms of the election board were pretty damning. But the most interesting bit for me was the criticism of former US president Jimmy Carter. Apparently, he undermined the electoral process and EU criticism with "his premature blessing of the elections and early positive assessment of the results."
People were puzzled at the time when he came out and praised the election process just hours after arriving in the country with his relatively tiny (50-strong) team of observers. The EU's comments are a highly public kick in the teeth for a man who is normally seen as beyond criticism.
It would be easy to get carried away with both EU reports, through. As far as I can see, they both stop short of alleging any irregularities at polling stations. The public one is about the handling of the media and delays in counting after the election - saying it might raise the risk of fraud. The second is directed at the NEB and talks about "assumed" not "actual" vote rigging.
Both Carter and the EU said they were broadly happy with what happened on and around election day itself.
Posted by aheavens at May 26, 2005 4:23 AM