Home | News    Tuesday 21 June 2005

Ethiopian election board rejects most vote fraud complaints

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ADDIS ABABA, June 21 (AFP) — Ethiopian authorities said Tuesday they had rejected more than half of the nearly 300 fraud complaints they received from last month’s disputed polls which led to a week of deadly violence in the capital.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) said it would begin investigations into 135 complaints of fraud and vote irregularities in the May 15 polls but that it had rejected 164 due to lack of evidence.

"Of the 299 constituencies where it was alleged that fraud and rigging had taken place, investigation will take place only in 135 constituencies," NEBE spokesman Getahun Amogne told AFP.

Last week, after deadly clashes between police and protesting demonstrating against alleged election fraud, NEBE officials said the board intended to look into about 200 complaints but stressed that that figure was preliminary.

Getahun said the government and opposition groups that submitted the rejected complaints had until Thursday to provide the board with additional evidence if they wanted the decisions to be reconsidered.

Provisional results from the May 15 polls gave a majority in parliament to the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRDF), but the country’s two main opposition groups have rejected that victory claiming massive fraud.

Protests over the preliminary results, held in defiance of a government ban on post-election demonstrations in the capital, led to a massive police crackdown during which at least 36 people were killed and thousands arrested between June 6 and June 15.

The election board, which postponed the announcement of official final results by one month until July 8, has that date as well as a decision on possible election re-runs or vote recounts will depend on the investigations.

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