Meles will win big, says almost everyone who has commented publicly. I have agreed, for what that’s worth.

What this expectation really means is less clear, even to me.  The opposition now has about 30% of the seats in Parliament.  Meles, with the few small parties that he controls, has the rest.  That’s enough to confer legitimacy on any policy.

At a seminar on the Ethiopia elections yesterday almost everyone agreed that the next Parliament would probably have roughly the same 70-30 balance. No one used the words ‘landslide’, ‘overwhelming victory’, etc.  No one thought that post-election violence was likely, though small incidents were possible.

That left me wondering whether an unchanged 70-30 should be considered an ‘overwhelming victory’, or whether maintaining the status quo was just smart politics. It would avoid antagonizing the world, which has already criticized the lack of fairness in the campaign.  And it wouldn’t add force to domestic complaints.

Most interesting to participants yesterday was is the fate of Meles’ dominant Tigre-based party faction itself. For the first time it faces opposition from defecting senior party members. Meles himself faces an opponent in Adua, his home town.  In 2005 he ran unopposed.

So…two things to watch in tomorrows’s election:  will Meles increase his margin in Parliament, and will Meles experience even a small embarrassment in his home province?

Nothing else seems to be in doubt.   But I remember the wisdom of Yogi Berra, who said that predictions aren’t easy, especially about the future.