CONTACT: Kay Torrance
In Atlanta, 404-420-5129
In Addis Ababa, Samantha Aucock
+251-09 47 20 65
ATLANTA .The Carter Center, invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and welcomed by the National Election Board, will observe Ethiopia's national elections May 15. The 50-member delegation will be led by: former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; his wife, Rosalynn; former Botswana President Sir Ketumile Joni Masire; former Tanzania Prime Minister Judge Joseph Warioba; and Carter Center Executive Director John Hardman.
The Center's election observation mission follows an assessment trip in January in which the Center met with government representatives from the parliament and foreign ministry, opposition party leaders, and representatives of civil society organizations. The mission opened an office in Addis Ababa March 19.
"This election is an important step in the consolidation of democracy since the 1991 transition," said Rachel Fowler, senior program associate of the Center's Democracy Program. "The Carter Center is encouraged by the broad participation in the process, and its observation would support a more open, transparent process."
A small team of medium-term observers deployed in early April to areas outside of Addis Ababa to observe the political environment, election preparations, and the political party campaigns. The remainder of the delegation, representing 17 countries, arrives May 10 and will receive briefings in Addis Ababa before deployment throughout Ethiopia. The delegation's leadership, Fowler, and Ethiopia Field Office Director Samantha Aucock hope to meet with candidates, the election commission, domestic observers, and other international observers in the days before the election. On May 15, Center observers will witness poll openings, voting, and a poll closing, including counting and tracking of the tabulation of results.
The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. Please visit www.cartercenter.org to learn more about The Carter Center.