Ethiopia’s ruling coalition won a majority in national elections, extending its 20-year rule over Africa’s second-most populous country, the electoral board said. The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, and allied parties won all 442 of the seats counted so far in the 547-member federal parliament, Chairman Merga Bekana told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Addis Ababa. In the last election in 2010, the ruling coalition won all but one seat in the assembly. “The election was successfully completed as scheduled with high participation of our citizens who really committed themselves to the development of democracy,” Merga said. More than 90 percent of the country’s 37 million registered voters cast their ballots in the May 24 vote, he said.
African Union observers said on Tuesday that Ethiopia’s parliamentary election held on Sunday was credible except for a few irregularities, but the opposition dismissed the vote as marred by violations including ballot box theft. Provisional results in Africa’ second most populous nation are due later this week and few expect anything but a landslide for the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition, in power since ousting dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who took over after EPRDF’s long-serving leader Meles Zenawi died in 2012, has pushed on with EPRDF’s highly-centralised statist economic model credited with turning around the fortunes of a country once ravaged by war and famine.
Ethiopia, Washington’s security partner and Africa’s second most populous country, is scheduled to hold national elections on May 24. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its allied parties won 99.6 percent of the seats in the last round of elections in 2010. There is no doubt that the ruling party will win again. The party has ruled since 1991 when it seized power following a prolonged civil war. It dominates all major political, economic, and social institutions, has virtually eliminated independent political space, and opposition parties are fractured and harassed. Ethiopia has jailed more journalists than any other country in Africa.
It is easy to write off Bosnia as a dysfunctional country hobbled by unnecessary layers of government in which nothing works. In fact, despite an unduly complex system of government that was the price of ending the war in 1995, Bosnia works—but badly. The elections held on October 12th will probably not alter that. Yet to dismiss them as just one more round of political musical chairs would be wrong. Some change may now be in the air. The war left Bosnia divided between the Serb-run Republika Srpska (RS) and the Federation, which is dominated by Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and Croats. The Federation is divided into ten cantons. In February it was rocked by rioters demonstrating against their parasitic politicians. In May much of the country was engulfed by floods that caused terrible damage. Bosnia’s infrastructure is run down partly because so much money has been stolen but also because it has to pay for too many levels of government.
North Korea is holding parliamentary elections. Well, sort of. Three days ahead of Sunday’s vote, the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland looks set to complete yet another clean sweep of the 687-seat Supreme People’s Assembly. But maintaining their unanimous hold on parliament shouldn’t be challenging: There are no opposition parties on the ballot. The Democratic Front, the governing coalition led by Kim Jong Un’s ruling Workers’ Party, has handpicked one — and only one — candidate for each district. It’s nearly impossible to determine which individuals and institutions hold real power within the secretive North Korean government, but one thing is clear: The Supreme People’s Assembly is not one of them. Parliamentary elections, which are held every five years, are little more than a progranda excercise for a regime ruled by its despotic dictatorship at the top. Still, the North Korean government remains determined to uphold at least the appearance of democratic legitimacy. On Wednesday, the state news agency KCNA reported that election preparations were “gaining momentum.” “Agitation activities are going on to encourage citizens to take active part in the election with high political enthusiasm and labour feats, amid the playing of ‘Song of the election.'” Let the horserace begin.
Cameroon’s 5.4 million voters head to the polls on Monday for legislative and local polls set to shore up the strong parliamentary majority of President Paul Biya’s ruling party. President Biya has been accused of failing to adhere to a regular timetable for elections in order to ensure victory for his own People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC) party, which holds the majority of seats in the National Assembly and municipal bodies. The terms of the current cohort of deputies elected in the last polls in 2007 expired in 2012, but have been extended on three separate occasions.
Election authorities in Montenegro have named incumbent Filip Vujanovic as the winner of Sunday’s presidential election, with 51.21 percent of the vote. The opposition have cried foul, calling for an EU investigation. The election commission in Montenegro named incumbent Filip Vujanovic as the narrow winner late on Monday, after both candidates claimed victory in the presidential poll. However, the commission cautioned that these were preliminary results, still subject to change. Both sides had complained about the length of time it took to publish the results in a small country with around half a million eligible voters, only 60 percent of whom cast their ballots. Vujanovic, running for a third term in office, secured 51.2 percent of the vote, according to the official results. Vujanovic, president since 2003, represents the same Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) that control the country’s legislature. Although Montenegro’s constitution states that a president can serve only two terms, the Constitutional Court ruled prior to the vote that Vujanovic’s first term did not count because it began before Montenegro’s 2006 independence from Serbia. PDS official Caslav Vesovic said the election commission’s result “removes all doubt over who the citizens chose as president of Montenegro, and they chose Filip Vujanovic.”
Montenegro’s opposition refused on Monday to accept a third term for President Filip Vujanovic, a stance that could trigger instability in the tiny Adriatic state seeking European Union membership. Montenegrins were still awaiting the official results of Sunday’s closely fought election for the largely ceremonial post that both sides said they had won. Both Vujanovic and his opposition challenger, former diplomat Miodrag Lekic, claimed victory. The state electoral commission has until 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Tuesday to announce the official result. The dispute looked set to usher in an unstable period for the ex-Yugoslav republic of 680,000 people, which last year embarked on the long process of membership talks with the EU.
Both sides claimed victory in a presidential election in Montenegro on Sunday, raising the prospect of a dispute over the largely ceremonial post in the tiny Adriatic country as it bids to join the European Union. With no independent exit poll or official word from the state electoral commission, both incumbent Filip Vujanovic and opposition challenger Miodrag Lekic took to the airwaves to announce they had won. Lekic compared his rival’s claim to a “coup d’etat”. The president is largely a figurehead for Montenegro’s 680,000 people, with real power vested in the prime minister. But a Lekic victory would set up an awkward cohabitation and deal a significant blow to the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) after more than two decades in power.