Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi warns parties amid claims of intimidation

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has cautioned opposition members of parliament (MPs) to peacefully participate in the upcoming election.

Meles Zenawi, who appeared in parliament on Tuesday April 13, 2010, delivered a report on his government’s annual performance, especially on the efforts so far made to ensure a democratic and a free and fair elections.

The Prime Minister indicated that the ratification of an international standard election code is one of the main measures that has been taken ahead of the pending election.

And although a majority of the country’s opposition parties participated in the drafting process and have provided their full consent for the code, Meles Zenawi regretted that some political parties have rejected the code.

“There are some political parties interested to get power through riots and violence, as it was seen in the last national election,” he said. “But it is now improbable to be in a legal election process and (opt for) violence when the election is not in their favor,” he warned.

On their part, opposition MPs have complained about the election process and accused the ruling party of indiscriminate arrests of their candidates and supporters.

Merara Gudina, excutive member of the current influential opposition coalition parties, Medrek, has called on the ruling party to stop intimidating his candidates ahead of the election.

After their 2005 Addis Ababa election victory, the opposition’s claims of a parliamentary majority were rejected by the ruling party. However, the opposition’s refusal to accept the final results triggered protests that led to the death of about 200 civilians, including 7 policemen.

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