Friday, December 26, 2014

EPRDF to run uncontested in Harari

The only two opposition parties in contention for the seat of the Harari Regional State Council announced their withdrawal from the upcoming elections paving the way for the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to run uncontested. The Harari People’s Democratic Party (HPDP) and Harari Democratic Organization (HDO) announced their withdrawal citing harassment and uneven playing field. “The situation in the region is very difficult for the opposition party to participate in the election and hence we have decided to withdraw,” Bule Abdulahi, representative of HPDP in Addis Ababa, told The Reporter.
The representative said the party has been communicating its grievances in letters to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to no avail.
“The board failed to respond to our demands and did not provide us a lasting solution but only empty promises,” Bule said.
Similarly, Abdi Sebri, president of HDO, also explained to The Reporter that his party’s decision to withdraw from the fifth general elections scheduled to be conducted on May 24, 2015.
“The decision to withdraw is due to mounting pressures from the administrators of the region. Currently, it is very difficult for the oppositions to participate in the election because there is no freedom and equal opportunity for all,” Abdi told The Reporter.
“Many members and supporters of our party were fired from their jobs and suffered a lot because of their active participation during the previous election [in 2010]. The situation has not changed and we do not wish to push the public into despair,” he further explained.
The two party leaders said the decision to withdraw is made to demonstrate their “dismay” on administrators of the Harari Regional State and the NEBE.
“We do not want to be just a pacemaker rather we want to bring real change in the region, however, the situation is such that it is impossible to do so,” Abdi told The Reporter.
Demesew Benti, public relations director at NEBE, declined to comment over the issue on Friday stating that “the Board is in a meeting to pass decisions on various matters therefore it is very difficult to comment over the issue before the Board’s decision.”
The decision to withdraw by the two opposition parties leaves the Harari People’s National League, an affiliate of EPRDF, and the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization, an EPRDF-member party, as the only contesting parties in the region.
The two parties equally shared the 36 seats in the Harari Regional State Council in the aftermath of the 2010 general elections.
HPDP was established right after the country introduced a multiparty system back in 1994 and has participated in all national elections in the past without winning a seat.  HPO was also established some seven years ago and has participated in the 2010 general elections.  source ( The Reporter )

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