The government has been accused of genocide and more than a hundred constituencies have been closed due to war and conflict. But the Nobel laureate who is prime minister has promised to hold Ethiopia’s “first free election.”
Ethiopia will elect a new national assembly on Monday at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are starving in the war-torn province of Tigre, where elections are as embarrassing as many.
– If one believes that Prime Minister Abi Ahmed still has a vision of a more democratic and moderate Ethiopia, he can now hold elections, says Evind Alborg VG, director of Norwegian Church Aid in Ethiopia.
The prime minister describes the election as Ethiopia’s “first attempt to hold free and fair elections.”
– There is civil war, violence and neglect. But with the largest turnout since the 1990s, it may still be a free choice. Ethiopia is in a process, and has a very dictatorial background, Alborg describes over the phone from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
John Ekeland in Ethiopia: – The winner of the Peace Prize must enter the ceasefire
Small food: Refugees from Tigray share a meal containing Ingra, a type of flatbread, in a photo from June 19th.
Civil war and famine
After holding peace talks with neighboring Eritrea, Prime Minister Abi Ahmed received the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. Distribution Has been severely criticized After a There was a bloody clash in the province of Tigre last fall.
The conflict, which escalated into a civil war, also prevented emergency aid from entering the province. As many 350,000 people are at high risk of starvation, Warns the United Nations Food Program (WHO).
– Tigray’s condition is very serious. Alborg says hundreds of thousands are at risk of starvation and millions more are affected by the war.
– The Ethiopian leadership has been accused of genocide in Tigris, and how does that affect the election?
– The government says they have clashes only with insurgents in the DPLF in Tigray, not with civilians. But elections cannot now be held in the 35 constituencies in Tigray.
War in Ethiopia: Great loss of reputation for the Peace Prize
In addition to Tigre, another 64 constituencies have postponed Monday’s election to September due to clashes and unrest.
In other words, there are more than a hundred of Ethiopia’s 547 constituencies that will not hold elections now. Moreover, there are many opposition parties that are boycotting the election.
– The Prime Minister has been criticized for holding elections in such a situation, but it has already been postponed twice, and Alborg believes the postponement will lead to further unrest.
The NDP writes that the United States, long considered a close ally of Ethiopia, is one of those concerned about the upcoming election. The EU has also made it clear that it is concerned and does not want to send observers to the elections.
– Criticisms from the United States and the European Union make the prime minister more popular in Ethiopia, so Alborg says he will win the election.
Special Forces: A soldier from the Amhara Special Forces in Dansha, Ethiopia, in a photo from November last year.
When Abi Ahmed came to power in 2018, many Ethiopians and the outside world had high expectations. The DPLF has been in power since the overthrow of the military dictator Mengistu Hailey in 1991.
Tigresses make up only 6-7 percent of Ethiopia’s population, and Abi accused the DPLF of widespread corruption, abuse of power and abuse.
Abhije belongs to the Oromo people, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, and he pledged comprehensive political and economic reforms. He signed a peace agreement with the TPLF’s arch-enemy, neighboring Eritrea, and promised to lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty.
But Ethiopia today is burdened with $ 250 billion in foreign debt thanks to the costly war in Tigris, the corona epidemic and many other major infrastructure projects. The NDP said most of the debt was to China.