Millions of Ethiopians across the nation on Sunday went to the polls to cast their votes in local and city council elections, which national observers described as peaceful and fair.
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) said elections has been conducted in a peaceful manner with a big turnout of voters. The Chairperson of NEBE, Merga Bekane, said the election could be considered as “exemplary to the international community”.
“The election was a great success it was stable, smooth, effective and efficient in all directions” Merga told reporters.
He said voters participated enormously and very actively. According to Merga, more than 90% of the country’s total 31.6 million registered voters cast ballots.
The chairperson added that election officers served their voters as much as required and as much they were trained.
Voters and opposition observers told Sudan Tribune that they have witnessed a transparent, peaceful and democratic election process.
The observers added that they had not witnessed any visible irregularities that warranted making an official complaint.
However, an opposition official who refused to be named told Sudan Tribune that election officers in some polling station were not effectively guiding voters on how they have to cast votes creating confusion.
The Ethiopian electoral board said it has not received any complaint from opposition parties so far.
“The legal judiciary and the law enforcement teams were so patient to receive any complaint” Merga said adding that they have been "on standby" but are yet to receive any compliants.
Merga commended contesting political parties for the excellent discipline they displayed during the election process.
Government officials said that the participation of every stakeholder indicates that the Ethiopian people are want to help the growth of democracy in the horn of Africa nation, which has a history of poor election processes.
Some 200 street protesters were killed following disputed elections in 2005. However the EPRDF led government has then after managed to hold peaceful and transparent national elections.
After the closure of polling stations on Sunday evening, ballot counting has begun but the official outcome will not be announced until 10 May 2013.
Over 200,000 public observers witnessed Sunday’s vote, which was held at nearly 45,000 polling stations across nation with a total of 3.6 million candidates are running.