- Ethiopia will launch the national election campaign on 8 December for the 2010 national polls slated for May, a government official has confirmed today.
Government spokesman, Bereket Simon, said the Ethiopian government is engaged in making free, fair, transparent and democratic polls, setting an example in the troubled Horn of Africa region.
The elections will be the first since 2005, after a deadly violence sparked by allegations of vote rigging. The violence killed nearly 200 people.
The official said the result of the election will officially be announced by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) on June 21 next year.
Earlier this week, three opposition groups announced to have reached an agreement with government on the electoral code to make the election free and fair.
The code sets out campaigning, voting and party symbol guidelines as well as how to deal with intimidation and violence, abuse of office and corruption. It also includes the setting up of a panel to handle election disputes.
However, the Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia, a coalition of eight parties, had shunned the talks, arguing that key elements on security and freedom of expression and movement were not included in the code.
Mr Simon said the group would still be allowed to register candidates, but warned that any violations of the code would incur penalties.
He also said the international election observers, including the European Union (EU) and other continental and regional bodies will also be invited to observe the election.
The May 2005 drew condemnation from the international community after Meles Zenawi's Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won the elections despite a swing to the opposition.
The opposition cried foul and their supporters took to the streets. Around 36 people were killed and hundreds were arrested in the protests; 46 protesters died in further violence in November.
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