Ethiopia's ruling party wins polls

Ethiopia's ruling party has won all repeat polls, according to provisional results released Friday, cementing a victory in parliamentary elections fraught with allegations of violations, abuse and postelection violence.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front took all 31 seats where voting was repeated following investigations into electoral violations, said Getahun Amogne, spokesman for the National Electoral Board. This gives the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front control of 59 percent of the 547-seat parliament, or 327 seats, enough to form the government. The opposition has won 161 seats in total. Opposition parties only won 12 seats during the previous elections, in 2000, the AP reports.

"The board will approve the results on Monday but provisionally all the reruns have gone to the ruling party," Getahun said.

The repeat elections were held Aug. 21 in 20 parliamentary constituencies where the ruling party had complained of irregularities in the May 15 vote and in 11 districts where the opposition filed challenges.

Originally complaints had been lodged in 299 constituencies, but the board rejected most of them and only ordered repeat polls in the 31 constituencies. The opposition insisted the board should have ordered more repeats.

They have threatened not to take up their seats in parliament because of lingering questions about the election results.

Elections held in the eastern Somali Region, have seen an ally of the ruling party, the Somali People's Democratic Party, take 19 seats with results for four seats, which are also expected to go to the government, still outstanding.

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