There are reports that the EU sent 170 observers, not 140, as I wrote yesterday.  How many observers were there, in fact?

The higher number could be correct but the difference isn’t material.  Thirty more observers might add about 100 polling stations to the total visited, out of a total of 43,000.  The total that had EU or African Union remains about 5%.

The EU’s chief observer still says that the turnout was high, but he doesn’t say that most of his information comes from the government, not from independent observers, least of all the small number in his group.

Here’s his quote in a BBC report today:

“I do not know what the final turnout will be but it was very high. I think this in itself is encouraging,” the chief EU observer Thijs Berman said

“The Ethiopian citizens have expressed their vote in a democratic, calm and peaceful way and massively,” he said.

There were many local observers, but widespread complaints of interference with their efforts.  Staffs from all embassies were banned from the countryside during the voting, removing a group of potential witnesses from the scene who could not be easily intimidated.

The truth, of course, is that African governments,  like incumbents in the US (will this year be different?), usually win.  Ethiopians are not really worse off today than they were before the election.  That’s both good news and bad news.

Wait till 2015!