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Democracy In Ethiopia

The United States and the European Union are calling for a peaceful resolution of a dispute stemming from the May parliamentary elections in Ethiopia.

The first official results were released this month. They give the ruling Ethiopian People's Democratic Front a narrow lead over the Coalition for Unity and Democracy and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces. But because of complaints of voting irregularities, the outcomes of approximately half of the five-hundred-forty-seven contested parliamentary seats are still being investigated.

State Department spokesman Thomas Casey says the U.S. expects "all political parties. . . .to respect the political process. . . .and continue working for the promotion of democracy and a vibrant society":

"All parties should renounce all use of violence, ethnic hate messages via the media or the internet, and any other action that is likely to further increase tensions in Ethiopia. The European Union and the United States expect all political parties and the government to abide by the political process, through parliamentary and constitutional means to resolve this election crisis."

Election-related violence in June resulted in the deaths of more than thirty Ethiopians. According to news reports, some four-thousand demonstrators were detained. Those arrested included investigators for the independent Ethiopian Human Rights Council.

State Department spokesman Casey says, "the U.S. urges "the government of Ethiopia to respect international principles of human rights by exercising due process and releasing detained party members and party supporters who are not going to be charged." He says, "The European Union and the United States will assist Ethiopia as it meets these new democratic challenges."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.