Statement by the EU Spokesperson on elections in Ethiopia
“Ethiopia has peacefully concluded its pre-election process and voting and many parties and participants have actively engaged in the process. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia has put hard work and organisational efforts into ensuring that as many of Ethiopia’s 36.8 million registered voters as possible had the chance to exercise their vote.
The EU is encouraged that the process was largely peaceful and orderly. It takes note of the preliminary statement of the African Union Election Observation Mission, the only international mission present to observe the elections, including the areas for further improvement identified by the Mission.
The electoral process was discussed in the framework of the EU-Ethiopia political dialogue with the Government and with the main political actors involved. Among the issues discussed, emphasis was placed on an open political space, the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and the neutrality of the electoral authorities, as vital to sustain the confidence of all voters and the accountability of those elected, as well as help combat extremism.
Arrests of journalists and opposition politicians, closure of a number of media outlets and obstacles faced by the opposition in conducting its campaign have limited the space for open debate and had a negative impact on the overall electoral environment. All parties need to adhere to the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
The EU has a long-standing and deep partnership with the people and Government of Ethiopia. This covers not just bilateral support for growth, development and democracy, but regional and global issues, such as countering terrorism and climate change and addressing migration, in which both our peoples have an interest and Ethiopia has an important role to play. The EU looks forward to continuing and deepening that partnership with the new government and the people of Ethiopia in a spirit of honesty and cooperation.”