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Last updateTue, 24 May 2016 11am

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Opposition parties warn they may quit the election

 

Eight opposition parties that are running the election campaign in Wolayta zone in Southern region where prime minister Hailemariam Dessalegn is also a candidate for the ruling party said they will withdraw from the upcoming election if the harassment continues.

The Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), Ethiopian Federalist Unity aka Medrek, Unity for Democracy and Justice and five other oppositions submitted their letter to the parliament, prime minister office and the election board requesting an immediate solution.

"We are facing a serious challenge and our candidates are being harassed and could not campaign," the letter reads. "The local election bureaus are not giving any solution and we are facing a serious challenge to stay in the election."

The pointed out over nineteen challenges they are facing including violence on their members, threats against their candidates and pressure for them to withdraw from the election, firing of their members from government jobs, and creation of other obstacles on their campaigns.

"Unless a correction is taken within three days, for the sake of the safety of our people we will withdraw ourselves from the upcoming election," they said.

Beyene Peros the chairman of Mederk told one Diaspora radio this week a candidate who is competing with the prime minister in Southern region had been kidnapped for six days by security agents. His whereabouts were unknown by his party and family until he was released last week. 

"He was warned to quit from the election if he chooses his life," Beyene said.

Apparently, local newspapers reported that Tesfaye Haile the candidate of Medrek in Wolayta zone has already withdrawn himself from the election. The party said he took this action after being repeatedly threatened.

Many people doubt that the election will be fair and free since opposition parties are still complaining of harassment in many parts of the country. They also frequently accuse the ruling party of using the public media unfairly to its advantage and refusing the opposition to use the media share given by the election board.

The election board however says the election process is going very smoothly.