The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, announced on Monday that the planned deployment of the European Union (EU) election observation mission for the parliamentary elections on June 5th in Ethiopia was canceled.
Borrell stated that, despite “all efforts” by the European Union, it was not possible to reach an agreement with the Ethiopian authorities on the key parameters for the “mission”.
“As the conditions are not met, the mission has to be canceled,” he said, underlining that its “integrity” is a “cornerstone of the EU’s support for democracy”.
As stated in a statement, the block regrets “the refusal to comply with the standard requirements for the deployment of an election observation mission”.
Among them, Borrell pointed to “the independence of the mission and the import of communications systems from the mission, which is vital for the safety of EU observers, especially in a challenging security environment”.
“This situation also affects preparations for the elections, including voter registration,” he said, reiterating that it was “disappointing” that the European Union “had not received the necessary guarantees to make one of its members become part of the Ethiopian people.” Most visible signs of support for his pursuit of democracy. “
However, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has encouraged the Ethiopian authorities “to redouble their efforts to ensure that all Ethiopians can exercise their legitimate political and civil rights”.
“The EU recalls that in order to further this goal and to ensure credible, inclusive and transparent elections, it supported the Ethiopian National Electoral Body (NEBE) with more than EUR 20 million in preparing these elections,” added Borrell.
The Ethiopian Electoral Commission announced in December its decision to set June 5, 2021 as the date to celebrate the general elections, which are scheduled for August 2020 and postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The postponement of the elections exacerbated tensions with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which rejected the announcement and, as part of an upsurge in its differences with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has held elections in the Tigray (north) region since joining in 2018. He later said that he did not recognize his authority due to the lack of a vote on his mandate.
Finally, on November 4, Abiy announced the start of an already completed military offensive in the region to remove the TPLF from power following the group’s attack on a large military base in the regional capital, Mekelle, and the death of large numbers of military personnel.
The offensive in Tigray, in which Eritrean troops took part on the side of the Ethiopian army, has caused a serious humanitarian crisis, with the displacement of tens of thousands of people and the destruction of part of Tigray’s infrastructure, which blew up the Tigray alarms in the international community.