No other national elections held over the past two decades have a result as obvious as the one held today

This Sunday, no less than 35 million Ethiopians are to visit close to 45,000 polling stations across the country, to cast their ballots for a political party they prefer to govern them over the coming five years. With an electoral field lacking a level playing field to the opposition camp and their supporters, the outcome of the election is all but certain, gossip sees.

No other national elections held over the past two decades have a result as obvious as the one held today, claims gossip. Those into crunching numbers can easily see that no political party but the EPRDF has lined up sufficient numbers of candidates to claim a majority position in parliament. The largest number of candidates fielded by an opposition party comes from the Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia, a.k.a MEDREK. In the most improbable event that MEDREK bags all the seats it chose to run for, it will remain three seats short to hold half the seats of Parliament up on Lorenzo Te’azaz Road, gossip noticed.

It is, however, exceeded by the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), a party which continues to endure. Despite the electoral debacles of 2005 it has been able to overcome mistrust by voters; and, deployed 169 candidates. The younger party around the block, Semayawi (Blue) Party, follows third with 139 candidates, of which four are women. Again, neither EDP and Semayawi nor MEDREK can master a sufficient number of seats in Parliament to form a government on their own, claims gossip.

Gossip sees that the road to form a coalition government between any of the three appears remote, for, MEDREK finds its worldview of politics closer to the EPRDFites in government than the EDP or the Semayawi in the opposition.

If, notwithstanding, this election is not about the victory or defeat of the incumbent, it can just be about the policy menu the EPRDFites put on the tabular array and how wide the road to Lorenzo Te’azaz Road will be for their political adversaries, according to gossip. The Revolutionary Democrats, along with their regional allies, are determined to take hold of each and every seat there is, gossip disclosed. However, they seem to be adamant that they offer only continuity of their existing policies. They appear to the electorate to have little charisma. At least in the major urban centres, many voters are rather craving for change and reform, claims gossip

Ironically, their political opponents are unable to articulate to voters, this aspiration for some sort of change, says gossip. Granted, MEDREK has some differences with the incumbent over how democratically the country is run, with issues of competence, transparency and accountability of those entrusted with the state. Still, it has the EPRDF’s DNA, which makes it offer no ideological alternatives to the Revolutionary Democrats’ social democratic worldview, gossip says. Should there be differences between the two, it is only to the degree they gravitate to the centre from their leftist departures.

A meaningful ideological departure comes from the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), with its declared liberal democratic enthusiasm. However, gossip has seen it as a party which remains inconsequential in the eyes of many voters.

The Revolutionary Democrats are thus ready to proceed forward to govern in as much the same way as they have for two decades, disregarding popular demand for reform. Hence, there is growing desperation in the absence of it, according to gossip. They will likely get the protest message from pockets of constituencies in Addis Abeba, Adama (Nazareth), Dire Dawa and rural areas in western Oromia as well as some places in the Southern Regional State, gossip anticipates.

Expectedly, political pundits have been trying lately to see the number of seats the incumbent will probably lose to the opposition, gossip observed. The projection varies from 150 down to less than 10, according to gossip. It is indeed a wild guess with a margin of error too wide to make much sense. A guess gossip finds most likely is that the opposition camp will have gains which will make it recover from 2010; and the incumbent may likely lose between 20 and 30 seats in the federal parliament.

Published on May 25, 2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 786]



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