Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ruling Prosperity Party (PP) overwhelmingly won general elections Saturday, meaning he will stay in power another term, according to CNN affiliate Nation Media Group.
Abiy’s party is expected take more than 410 of the 546 parliamentary seats in the first round of the contest, Ethiopia’s sixth national election.
Abiy, 44, took office in April 2018 following the resignation of his predecessor, becoming the first Oromo person to lead the country.
Although he was a recipient of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, his administration has garnered negative criticism during the past year for delaying elections twice and its military action in the Tigray region, where thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed.
Opposition movements have raised concerns about the integrity of the June 21 ballot, Ethiopia’s first multi-party election in 16 years, albeit one riven with conflict, jailed opposition figures and parts of the country unable to vote.
The US State Department said in a statement last month, before the vote. that it was “gravely concerned about the environment under which these upcoming elections” were to be held.
A similar statement from European Union countries said the vote was happening in “problematic conditions.”
Abiy dismissed those allegations on Twitter last month, calling the vote Ethiopia’s “first attempt at free and fair elections.”
Among the 47 parties participating in the general and regional elections, Abiy’s Prosperity Party led the chart on the number of registered candidates contesting for seats at the parliament with a total of 2,432 aspirants.
Thirty-seven million of Ethiopia’s 109 million citizens are registered to vote. However, many Ethiopians in conflict-ridden areas will have to wait until September 6 to cast their ballots when the second round of voting will be held.