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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:03, May 10, 2005
Residents of Ethiopia's various towns rally in support of ruling party
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Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have rallied in the past two days in various towns across the Horn of Africa country in support of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) ahead of May 15 general elections.

More than 22,000 residents from 17 kebeles in Ambalage woreda in Tigray State expressed support to the EPRDF on Sunday, saying " no party is more democratic than the EPRDF."

Similarly, more than 5,000 residents of Gulo Mekheda woreda -- or district -- in Tigray State rallied on Monday in favor of the EPRDF.

More than 10,000 residents in Dembecha woreda in Amhara State also held a demonstration on Monday, supporting the ruling Amhara Nationals Democratic Movement (ANDM).

More than 2,000 residents in Bench Maji zone of the South Ethiopia People's State, who came out on Monday in favor of the South Ethiopia People's Democratic Movement (SEPDM/EPRDF) said they would not let their rights enshrined in the federal constitution snatched.

Similarly, thousands of residents in Shinile town of the Somali State rallied on Monday to condemn opposition parties who, they said, are undermining the efforts the relatively backward regions have been unleashing to administer themselves.

More than 25.6 million of Ethiopia's 74.2 million people have registered to vote in the upcoming elections.

The ruling EPRDF is widely expected to win a third five-year term in the world's extremely poor country, but observers say the ruling party's parliamentary majority may dwindle under challenges from opposition candidates.

The two major opposition parties, which dare to challenge the ruling parties, are the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) and the Coalition for Unity and Democracy. Both are representing the interests of youths, university students and business people.

Voters will also elect representatives in nine regional state parliaments that appoint members of the 112-seat Council of the Federation, the upper house. The governing party and affiliated parties hold 519 of the current 547 seats in the federal parliament.

Ethiopia holds national polls every five years.


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