Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Bereket Simon offers personal account of historic, controversial elections

Inarguably the face of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) during the historic and violent elections of May 2005, Bereket Simon, is to break the ice for the ruling party elites and inaugurate a new book that promises to give personal accounts and contrast of the 2005 and the recent 2010 elections, direct from the horse’s mouth.
Bereket, a senior ruling party figure and currently minister at the Federal Government Communications Affairs Office, will, on Tuesday, release the new book said to be an account of Ethiopia’s last two national elections.
Opposition elites, such as the now outlawed Ginbot 7 group founder Berhanu Nega (PhD) and others have done it before. However it is unprecedented for a ruling party member to take up the challenge of offering a memoir of elections.  Still fresh in the public mind, the 2005 elections first promised to be a historic moment where Ethiopian political rivals would finally learn to settle disputes through the ballot box. It however came to be ill-fated; the process squashed by street violence and court convictions that led to the collapse of the opposition camp. 
“The two elections have fundamentally exhibited similar characters…the first one started and ended peacefully…the second one started peacefully and ended in violence…in the first elections the opposition progressed from 12 to 170 [parliament] seats, while in the second they regressed from 170 seats to one. While the ruling party greatly suffered in 2005 and it has thrived in 2010. In the two elections held in five year period…what are the reasons for such highly unparalleled results?” asks Bereket in the preface of his new book Tale of Two Elections, that Capital obtained.
Whether the new book, scheduled to be inaugurated on Tuesday at the Sheraton Addis, will offer tangible answers to the questions it has raised and how it will debut in the local market that recently exhibited an appetite for politically inclined memoirs such as former president Dr Negasso Gidada’s biography, is to be seen this week. “I leave it to readers to judge if I fulfilled the responsibility of striking the right balance between stating the facts and offering personal analysis,” said the author.