Ethiopian opposition groups are accusing the government of harassing their members and carrying out illegal detentions ahead of the May 24 elections.

Yonathan Tesfaye, spokesman for the Blue Party, told The Associated Press Wednesday that some party members are being beaten, especially in the southern region. He said his party may boycott the elections.

Chane Kebede, leader of the Ethiopian Democratic Party, also complained of a climate of fear.

Desta Tesfaw, a spokesman for the ruling party, dismissed the allegations and accused opposition parties groups of trying to discredit the elections.

In 2010, Ethiopia's ruling coalition won 99.6 percent of all parliamentary seats — a victory that Human Rights Watch said was "the culmination of the government's five-year strategy of systematically closing down space for political dissent and independent criticism."