October 4, 2010 / 3:21 PM / 7 years ago

Ethiopia's Meles sworn-in as PM after May elections

<p>Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi delivers his speech during the Millennium Development Goals Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi is expected to appoint new ministers this week after being sworn in as Prime Minister by parliament Monday four months after a disputed landslide election win.

The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and allies won 545 seats in the 547-member parliament on May 23 in a vote that was criticized by the United States and the European Union.

Meles, in power since 1991, is expected to name a cabinet for his five-year term in coming days.

The country’s biggest opposition coalition, the eight-party Medrek, won just a single parliamentary seat. Medrek and the smaller All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP) demanded a rerun, alleging pre-poll intimidation and some vote rigging.

The calls were rejected by the country’s electoral board and Supreme Court.

In a preliminary report, a European Union (EU) observer mission said the poll was marred by the EPRDF’s use of state resources, putting the opposition at a disadvantage, but said this did not mean the count itself was invalid.

The U.S. said the election failed to meet international standards.

The EU’s full report, scheduled for July, has yet to be published, provoking criticism from Ethiopian opposition parties.

Diplomatic sources told Reuters the delay is because of wrangling over whether it should be released in Ethiopia or Europe and because of problems scheduling a meeting between Meles and EU chief observer Thijs Berman.

Meles said last month his government would pay no attention to the report.

“We have seen a glimmer of what it might look like and what we have seen is bad enough,” Meles told reporters. “So we aren’t interested anymore in the full package.”

The report is now expected in mid-October, diplomats said.

Ethiopia’s last elections in 2005 damaged its reputation and hampered investment when the opposition disputed the result and street riots erupted in capital Addis Ababa, killing 193 protestors and seven policemen.

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