The Biden administration is “gravely concerned” that the June 21 elections in Ethiopia may not be free, fair or credible.
“The detention of opposition politicians, harassment of independent media, partisan activities by local and regional governments, and the many interethnic and inter-communal conflicts across Ethiopia are obstacles to a free and fair electoral process and whether Ethiopians would perceive them as credible,” U.S. Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
The administration described the exclusion of large segments of the electorate from the contest due to security issues and internal displacement as “particularly troubling.”
It, however, called on the government of Ethiopia and all Ethiopians to embrace inclusion and dialogue after the elections, adding that they should not be seen as “a singular event” but rather as part of a democratic political process that involves “dialogue, cooperation, and compromise.”
“To that end, we urge the Government of Ethiopia and all Ethiopians to commit to an inclusive, post-election political dialogue to determine a path forward to strengthen the country’s democracy and national unity,” Price said.
The hardening of regional and ethnic divisions in multiple parts of Ethiopia threaten the country’s unity and territorial integrity, the Biden administration added.
“The period following these elections will be a critical moment for Ethiopians to come together to confront these divisions. The United States stands ready to help Ethiopia address these challenges and find a path to a brighter future. We stand with all Ethiopians working toward a peaceful, democratic, and secure future for the country,” Price added.
The elections will be taking place at a time when so many Ethiopians are suffering and dying from violence and acute food insecurity caused by conflict across the country.