ETHIOPIA
Parliamentary Chamber: Yehizib Twekayoch Mekir Bete

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2000

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Chamber:
  Yehizib Twekayoch Mekir Bete


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  14 May 2000


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the House of People's Representatives on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 1 October 1999, the National Election Board invited all political parties in Ethiopia to register for the 2000 national and regional elections, the second since the promulgation of the new Constitution in December 1994 which provided for multi-party democracy.

Voting took place on 14 May 2000. At stake were all the seats in the lower House, the Council of People's Representatives of the Federal Assembly and the 3,022 seats in the State Councils.

Some 50 parties - 17 of them in opposition - and 490 independent candidates participated in the elections in which slightly more than 20 million of Ethiopia's estimated 29 million eligible voters were registered to vote. According to the National Election Board, turnout was around 90 per cent.

The electoral campaign was dominated by calls for better economic management, respect for human rights and land reform. After the ouster of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974, all land was nationalized by the then Marxist regime. The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) would like to retain State ownership of land, while most of the opposition support privatisation.

Unlike the previous elections, held in 1995, no international observers were present at the 2000 elections. This absence was highly criticised by the opposition but defended by the Government as a matter of sovereignty.

Two days before the Ethiopians cast their votes, the country resumed its two-year border war with Eritrea.

Results announced in mid-June by the National Electoral Board showed that the ruling coalition, the EPRDF, led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and composed of 24 political organizations, had won a mandate to remain in power for the next five years, as it won 85 per cent of the seats. Eight opposition parties and five independent candidates won the remaining 15 per cent of the seats in the House of People's Representatives.

Elections in the region of Somali, which had been hard hit by drought and severe food shortage, were held on 31 August 2000. The Alliance of Somali Democratic Forces (ASDF), the Western Somali Democratic Party (WSDP), and the Somali Peoples Democratic Party (SPDP), as well as 156 private candidates contested the 23 seats reserved for the region in the House of People's Representatives and the 168 seats in the State Council. Some 75 per cent of the 1.15 million registered eligible voters in the region cast ballots. The results for this region showed that 19 of the seats went to the Somali Peoples Democratic Party and the other four went to independent candidates.

The newly elected House of People's Representatives was inaugurated on 9 October 2000, and it re-elected Ato Dawit Yohannes as the Speaker.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (14 May 2000): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 20 252 000
Voters 90.00 %

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Oromo People's Democratic Organisation 183
Amhara National Democratic Movement 146
Southern Ethiopia People's Democratic Front 112
Tigray Peoples Liberation Front 40
Afar National Democratic Party 8
Benishangul Gumuz Peoples Democratic Front 6
Council of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia 4
Gambela Peoples Democratic Front 3
Hadiya National Democratic Organisation 3
Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic Coalition 2
Ethiopian Democratic Party 2
Independents 13
Others 25

Comments:
  The Ethipian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front is composed of Oromo People's Democratic Organisation, Amhara National Democratic Movement, Southern Ethiopia People's Democratic Front and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, that scooped 87.9% of the seats at stake.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 505
Women: 42
Percent of women: 7.68 %


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Copyright 2000 Inter-Parliamentary Union