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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
First Ethiopia poll results drawn
Hundreds are still held after the arrests
Thousands were arrested during and after the protests
The first official results from Ethiopia's disputed May elections show the ruling party and the opposition won roughly the same number of seats.

With more than half the results announced, the EPRDF of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has a narrow lead.

The National Election Board said it was investigating allegations of fraud in up to 200 seats.

The opposition rejected initial results, which said the EPRDF had retained its majority.

Protests at alleged fraud left at 36 people dead in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Nomads to vote

Of the 307 seats declared, the Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has won 139 seats, the two main opposition groups - CUD and UEDF - got 93 and 42 seats respectively.

The CUD and UEDF have pledged to form a coalition government.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
EPRDF: 139
CUD: 93
UEDF: 42
Others: 33
Being investigated: 139
Probe to start: 14
Possible investigation: 64
Still to vote: 23
Source: National Election Board

Smaller parties and independents gained the remaining 33 seats.

The election board said it was still investigating fraud complaints in 139 constituencies in the 547-seat parliament.

It said it would soon begin probes in another 14 and was reviewing allegations of irregularities to determine whether investigations were needed in 64.

Nomads are due to vote in mobile polling stations in August to elect 23 MPs from the Somali region.

Election board head Kemal Bedri rejected charges that the elections had been a shambles because a winner had not been announced yet.

"We have been investigating all of the complaints from the political parties, however frivolous, and to do that takes time," he said.

Meanwhile, the opposition CUD has pulled back from statements saying it had withdrawn from the panels investigating the claims of fraud.

"For now we haven't withdrawn from the investigating committee but we've asked the election board to take corrective measures," CUD official Gizachew Shiferaw told Reuters news agency.

"The whole process is not credible and is mismanaged."

The board now says final results will be released before the end of July but some diplomats say this is unlikely with polls being re-run in some areas, on top of the investigations into alleged fraud.

Thousands were arrested after the poll protests and opposition parties say many of their members are still in prison.


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