The European Union has announced that the 27 member bloc will no longer send observers to Ethiopia’s parliamentary election billed for next month.
In the announcement late Monday, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell said the forum has gone back on its plans because conditions had not been met on communication systems and the mission’s independence.
“The EU regrets the refusal of the fulfilment of standard requirements for the deployment of any Electoral Observation Mission, namely the independence of the Mission and the import of mission communication systems,” Borrell said.
“It is disappointing that the EU has not received the assurances necessary to extend to the Ethiopian people one of its most visible signs of support for their quest for democracy.”
Dina Mufti, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry spokesman, said the main sticking point was over communication systems.
“Firstly, they said they will come with V-SAT communication equipment which is out of Ethiopia’s Communication technology system,” Mufti told a news conference.
“We have held six election so far as a country but we have never had such a claim from observers. Every election area is accessible by the National Telecommunication system, they can use that.”
The election was initially scheduled to hold in August 2020 but was postponed following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the vote has been fixed for June 5.