Ethiopia: Opposition coalition reject Supreme Court decision over election results

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Ethiopian opposition coalition, Medrek’s Executive Committee has decided to go to the Cassation Bench after the Federal Supreme Court rejected their request for an election rerun on Friday June 18, 2010.

The court rejected their appeal on Friday prompting the leaders of the eight party coalition to gather and discuss their next step, Negasso Gidada (pHd), Medrek spokesman said.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) had a duty to verify and take legal action when it received information regarding any error (or) irregularities in the election process, Negasso said.

“However, the electoral board was not willing to investigate our claims that made Medrek to appeal to the Supreme Court. But the court’s rejection to the appeal is a wrong interpretation of the law, which is similar to the earlier mistake of the board,” Negasso explained.

The coalition, which gathered the most votes after the ruling front and the other major opposition, the All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP), appealed last Monday against the electoral board’s total rejection of their claims of irregularities and call for a fresh vote. The board said there was no evidence to support the complaints.

The refusal prompted the parties to go to Supreme Court. The crux of the case was that the board’s rejection of the complaints, despite the bulky evidence, was not legitimate and the board should have requested extra evidence if it believed it was inadequate.

The parties also asked the court to decide on their re-election claim if it upheld their appeal against the board. However, the three judges unanimously rejected the appeal. And according to AEUP deputy chairman Yakob Leke the Supreme Court’s justification to reject the claims saying their appeal should have been made to a lower court first.

But Yacob explains that “there was no special election court in many parts of the areas that we contested, but we did submit our complaints at the time to the public election observers, however, the court wouldn’t accept it”.

“Even if we are disappointed with the legal system, we have still one chance: to go to the Cassation Bench of Supreme Court,” he added, saying the party would decide in due course.

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