Ethiopia's two major opposition parties said Wednesday they will not accept the latest parliamentary election results from the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), which puts the ruling party near victory.
"If the people's voice is to be respected and peace and stability are made to prevail, the contested constituencies must be re-examined by a neutral body or there should be a re-election in the 299 contested constituencies," the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) said in a joint press statement.
On Tuesday, NEBE released official results for 128 federal parliament seats, bringing the total number of official results announced so far to 435, which the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won 241.
CUD and UEDF were in second and third places with 108 seats and 51 seats respectively.
Ethiopians went to poll on May 15 in the country's two separate elections to elect representatives to the lower House of People's Representatives and eight regional councils. Elections for the 23 constituencies of the Somali regional state will take place on August 21.
NEBE started the investigations after police shot dead at least 36 people during a protest against alleged electoral fraud.
Eighty-eight of the 128 results declared official are those on which complaint investigation panels had recommended upholding of provisional results and the remaining 40 are the ones rejected by the complaints review body after a hearing.
According to the joint statement from the opposition parties, during the investigation, in constituencies where the ruling EPRDF had lodged complaints, it was decided that there should be a re- run of election, while in areas where opposition parties had lodged complaints, their requests were rejected, with a few exceptions, by a majority decision on grounds of insufficient evidence.
"In almost all of the panels, the representatives of NEBE were blatantly biased, the statement said, adding that they had acted outside of the agreed guidelines and also ignored their impartiality by denying established truths, disregarding documentary evidence and arguing openly against UEDF and CUD representatives," the statement said.
CUD and UEDF called on the ruling EPRDF and NEBE to cautiously examine and respect the idea put forward by the opposition parties for the peaceful resolution of the prevailing problem.