Ethiopia has had a tough time. A monarchy until the 1970’s, Ethiopia, reputed home to the Ark of the Covenant and first home to Christianity outside the Holy Land, was overrun my Marxist thugs, civil war, and famine. On the road to recovery, the rebel who overthrew the Marxists, became President and has since stayed and stayed and stayed.
Of late, Jimmy Carter, patron saint of dictators, and the European Union have tried to ensure free and fair electoral reform and elections. With St. Jimmy’s help, the current corrupt regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will remain. The prime minister, actually one of the most progressive and open of the African autocrats, has been challenged by opponents who got the PM to agree to democratic reforms. These reforms have not gone so well.
Ethiopia’s electoral board appears to have lost control of the vote counting for the May 15 legislative polls, European Union election observers said in a report obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The confidential report went on to say the EU might have to make a public denunciation of developments to distance itself from “the lack of transparency, and assumed rigging” of the vote
“Ten days after the polling day, the situation is of political uncertainty and informational chaos regarding the results of the election,” according to the confidential report.
“The National Electoral Board does not seem to be in control of the counting operation by the constituency electoral committees and limits itself to passively receive the reports from a limited number of constituencies.”
Though the EU has great concerns about the polling, Jimmy Carter was quick, too quick, to judge the elections a success, a la Venezuela.
The EU report also said former U.S. President Carter, who led a team of 50 election observers, undermined the electoral process and EU criticism with “his premature blessing of the elections and early positive assessment of the results.”
Unless there is a “drastic reverse toward good democratic practice” the observer team and EU “will have to publicly denounce the situation.”
“Otherwise, the EU jointly with ex-President Carter will be held largely responsible for the lack of transparency, and assumed rigging, of the elections.”
While outside observers say that the process was the most open in Ethiopia’s short democratic history, that St. Jimmy would race to the conclusion in favor of the autocrat as he did with Arafat and Chavez is disappointing and unsurprising.
On the bright side, as Jay Nordlinger points out, it has had the delightful effect of putting St. Jimmy in opposition with the autocrats of the EU.