Electoral Politics, Multi-partism and the Quest for Political Community in Ethiopia
Following the coming into power of the EPRDF (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front) in 1991, several political organizations took part in the political process in Ethiopia that promised a multi-party system. Although general elections in which several political organizations took part were held in 1995, the May 2005 elections provided an opportunity for the people to participate in the elections en masse. This paper argues that while the EPRDF indulged in the rhetoric of multi-party politics before the 2005 election, its crackdown in the aftermath of the same, its claims of total victory in 2010 and 2015 elections, and the politics of antagonism it has been persistently pursuing exposed the regime’s lack of commitment in multi-party elections as an important aspect of democratic politics. Secondly while the protests of 2014-2017 and the subsequent initiatives on the part of the government since have rekindled hope for democratic engagement, uncertainties remain. By using state-society relations as framework of analyses and reviewing secondary sources – books, articles, reports and web sources – this article makes a critical reflection on multi-party political rhetoric, the consequences of political control and repression, the significance of the concept of political community for political transformation in general and the conduct of genuine multi-party elections in the country in particular in the future.
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