The European Union has scrapped plans to send observers to Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections next month, saying conditions have not been met regarding communications systems and the independence of the mission.
Announcing the decision late Monday, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement that the 27-nation bloc would also not oversee preparations for the June 5 elections, including voter registration.
“The EU regrets the failure to meet the standard requirements for the deployment of any election observation mission, namely the independence of the mission and the import of mission communications systems,” Borrell said.
“It is regrettable that the EU did not receive the assurances necessary to provide the Ethiopian people with one of the most visible signs of support for their democratic aspirations.”
Dina Mufti, a spokesman for Ethiopia’s foreign ministry, said communications systems were the main stumbling block.
“First, they said they would ship with V-SAT communications equipment, which is not part of Ethiopia’s communications technology system,” Mufti said at a news conference.
“We have held six elections across the country, but we have never had such statements from observers. Each electoral zone is accessible to the national telecommunications system, they can use it. “
Ethiopia, a country of 110 million people, has one of the last closed telecommunications markets in the world, but has already begun its liberalization process. read more
In Ethiopia, elections were scheduled for August 2020, but they were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, there has been a conflict in the northern region of Tygrai, which will not take part in the vote, and in other areas.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his Prosperity Party are facing challenges from increasingly assertive ethnic parties seeking more power in their regions. read more
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