Ruling party wins big in Ethiopian elections

Addis Ababa, Jul 10 (EFE).- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party achieved a massive victory in the June 21 general elections, the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) said Saturday.

The PP won 410 of the 436 contested seats in the 547-member lower house of parliament, assuring Abiy of a new five-year mandate.

The balloting, originally scheduled for last August, did not take place in regions making up roughly 20 percent of Ethiopia’s territory amid logistical and security problems.

Among the excluded regions was famine-stricken Tigray, where federal forces have been battling the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) since last November.

“I want to confirm that we have managed to effect a credible election,” NEBE chair Birtukan Mideksa said during the announcement of the results in Addis Ababa.

The delayed ballot was Abiy’s first electoral test since he became premier in 2018 as the nominee of the then-ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

The elevation of Abiy, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, marked the end of 27 years of domination of national politics by the TPLF, which played a preponderant role in the overthrow of the Communist government in 1991.

In 2019, the same year he won the Nobel Peace Prize for signing a treaty that officially ended Ethiopia’s war with Eritrea, Abiy created the Prosperity Party as a successor to the EPRDF as part of his program to move the country away from ethnic federalism.

The TPLF, which had been the most powerful element in the EPRDF, refused to join the PP.

After months of growing tension between Tigray and the federal government, Abiy’s decision to indefinitely postpone the general elections scheduled for August 2020 because of Covid-19 served as a flashpoint.

The TPLF went forward in September with regional parliamentary elections that the central government labeled as illegal. At the same time, the Tigray administration said that it would no longer recognize the authority of the federal government because Abiy’s mandate expired on Oct. 5.

In early November, the TPLF seized an army base in Tigray and Abiy responded by ordering a full-scale offensive against the rebel region. EFE


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