Saturday, 19 September 2009

Ethiopia says won’t let in "color revolutionaries" observers to 2010 polls

By Tesfa-alem Tekle

September 19, 2009(ADDIS ABABA) — Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said that his country will invite foreign observers to the up-coming national elections but added his administration will screen observers to avoid "color revolutionaries" slip in.

"We will let in African, European and other foreign observers to inspect at next year’s election on conditions that they only center on the process of the election rather than interfering to outcomes and take sides" Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said at a news conference later this week.

The premier said that his administration had learned a lot — on this regard — from previous election and it will make sure that the same mistakes are not repeated in the up-coming election.

"We will make sure that the type of color revolutionaries, we had in 2005 election, don’t find their way here for observation" he said, adding "we will do the necessary screening."

By color revolutionaries, Mr. Meles was alluding to Anna Gomez, chief of the EU election observers to Ethiopia’s 2005 election.

In 2005, Gomez accused Zenawi-led ruling party, Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) of rigging the election.

At the time, the Ethiopian government blamed Gomez of fueling 2005’s post-election violence which left nearly 200 people killed in the capital, Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian government accused her of siding with the then main opposition rival, Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), saying Gomez had personal relations with the leaders of the opposition group. Also she had been accused of inciting the public to reverse the election outcomes in the Georgian model of Orange Revolution.

Despite the recent growing opposition claims that they are already facing harassment in their campaigns, the Ethiopian government says it is determined to conduct a peaceful, fair and democratic election in 20

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