By Tamiru Tsige
Semayawi (Blue) Party lambasts the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) accusing it of cancelling of 24 of its candidates registered in South Omo Zone.
The party learned of the cancellation of its candidates on Thursday, a day after the conclusion of candidates’ registration, according to Sileshi Feyisa, deputy chairman of Blue Party.
NEBE notified the cancellation in a letter dated February 12, 2015 to Electoral Office of the Southern Nations Nationalities Peoples Region, the office responsible for the registration of candidates in the region.
Sileshi accused the board of cancelling the registration of candidates “without giving adequate explanations”.
“They give excuses like ‘you are not a member of this or that party’ to deter candidates from registering,” Sileshi said at a press conference held at the party’s head office on Friday.
NEBE’s Deputy Secretary Wondimu Tola confirmed to The Reporter about the cancellation of these candidates and insisted they should have registered under the South Omo Peoples Union (SOPU). SOPU is one of the nine political parties that formed a “cooperation” which included Blue Party.
“SOPU is a registered political party in contention for the upcoming election with its own election symbol. But in a letter sent to the board, this party said it will be running under Blue Party following a decision by the nine party cooperation, which is not recognized by the board. There is no legal basis for that,” Wondimu told The Reporter.
However, Blue Party insists that the candidates are its members and it will appeal the decision of the board within five days from the date NEBE rendered its decision.
“The electoral board is becoming an obstacle to a free and fair election and its decisions are indicative of what the outcome of the upcoming election will be,” Sileshi said.
Meanwhile, the party says it has registered some 400 candidates nationwide who will contest for a seat in parliament. But the figure is yet to be confirmed by NEBE.
“We are not sure how many of our candidates have been accepted or cancelled by the board,” Sileshi said.
Wondimu said the board will announce the number of candidates and their constituencies as soon as the nationwide data is refined.
But the board had said more than 6,000 candidates, including 1,308 women candidates, registered under 57 political parties have been registered for the upcoming national election.
Some 1,884 candidates will contest for seats in parliament, including 11 independent candidates, while 4,168 will run for regional council seats out of which two are independent candidates.
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