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12 million register for Ethiopia’s May elections

12 million register for Ethiopia’s May elections

Fola Akintomide

Over 12 million Ethiopians have so far registered for key polls in May, officials have said, the first national elections since the death of long-time leader Meles Zenawi.

Numbers registered for the May 24 polls have “exceeded all expectations”, deputy electoral commission chief Addisu Gebregziabhier said.

Election officials are expecting up to 33 million people to register for the parliamentary polls, considered by the international community as a key test for democracy in the Horn of Africa nation. Registration opened on January 9 and runs until February 19.

The last elections in 2010 gave a landslide victory to the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), who along with allied parties won 545 of 547 seats in the House of People’s Representatives.

The main opposition parties rejected those results claiming fraud, but their appeals were turned down by the electoral board and the supreme court.