Summary: August 29, 2005: Statement by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the Ethiopian Elections (Brussels)
The European Union notes the balanced and impartial preliminary statement of 25 August issued by the European Union Observation Mission's Chief Observer. While we await the EUOM final report due next month before commenting on the overall electoral process, we note the Chief Observer's preliminary comment that the picture was mixed, with some positive aspects up to the 15th May, and some negative aspects thereafter. We also note that the preliminary statement revealed deficiencies and irregularities in aspects of the complaints process, re-runs and Somali regional elections. However, the EU trusts that all aspects of the report will be received and addressed by the Government and all political parties in the constructive spirit in which they were intended.
The EU congratulates once more the Ethiopian government for launching a more open electoral process, and for the decision to invite international observers. While the EU notes continuing issues of concern, including respect for human rights and balanced access to the media, the EU regards the elections as an important step forward in the democratisation process. We urge all political actors to use the coming period to work together peacefully and constitutionally to further embed multi-party democracy.
Above all, the EU again congratulates the Ethiopian people for their faith in democracy shown by such high voter turn-out on 15 May. The EU request Ethiopia's political leaders of all parties to respond to that faith by continuing the process of reform and positive change in the democratic institutions and media- and by participating actively in the new Parliament, City Administration and other institutions.
The EU reiterates its firm commitment to sustain and strengthen its partnership with Ethiopia and its people in all areas including that of further democratisation.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.