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Ethiopia conducted election in a 'credible' manner, AU observers say

A staff member from the National Election Board of Ethiopia confirms casted ballots at a polling station after the Ethiopian parliamentary and regional elections, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Maheder Haileselassie Tadese

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s parliamentary polls, held on Monday, were conducted in a “credible” manner, the African Union’s election observer mission said on Wednesday.

“Overall the election and election day processes were conducted in an orderly, peaceful and credible manner,” former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the head of the mission of 100 observers, told a news conference in Addis Ababa as authorities continued counting ballots.

The election in the country of 109 million people has been billed by the government as the first free vote in the country’s history. But it has been marred by an opposition boycott, war and reports of irregularities in some areas.

Authorities were unable to hold elections in four of Ethiopia’s 10 regions on Monday, though polling took place a day late in one of those regions, Sidama, on Tuesday, according to the elections board.

The board was expected to hold a news conference later on Wednesday.

Reporting by Ayenat Mersie; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Andrew Heavens, William Maclean