Ethiopia in first vote since Meles Zenawi’s death

Ethiopians have been voting for a new parliament in the first election since the death of long-serving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 2012.


The outgoing parliament has only one opposition MP. Mr Zenawi’s successor Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to hold on to power.

Polls closed at 18:00 local time.

No major irregularities were reported, election officials said. However, the opposition said their representatives were barred from some polling stations.

Voting in some areas has been extended to Monday after some polling stations ran out of ballot papers.

Observers from the African Union issued an initial assessment to say the polls were conducted in a calm and peaceful manner.

Some preliminary results will be announced this week, the electoral board says. Full results are due next month.

Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has been in power for almost a quarter of a century.

More than 36m Ethiopians – and 57 political groups – registered for the election. Many groups are organised along ethnic lines.

Other contenders include the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum, a coalition known as Medrek [the Forum] and the Semayawi [Blue] Party, which has held protest rallies and draws support from young people.

In 2005, 174 opposition politicians won seats in the 547-seat parliament, but many did not take them up after pronouncing the vote rigged.