The Last Post-Cold War Socialist Federation: Ethnicity, Ideology and Democracy in Ethiopia, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Last Post-Cold War Socialist Federation

Ethnicity, Ideology and Democracy in Ethiopia, 1st Edition

By Semahagn Gashu Abebe


298 pages

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Hardback: 9781472412089
pub: 2014-10-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315556338
pub: 2016-03-03
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After the fall of the Berlin wall and the disintegration of the former USSR and Yugoslavia, it has widely been assumed that socialist federations have become a thing of the past. Ethiopia’s ethnic federal system however is essentially a socialist federal system based on the notion of the ’right to self-determination of nationalities’ and a Marxist-Leninist organization of the state and party. This book assesses the Ethiopian ethnic federal system from the perspective of the principles of socialist federations and other Marxist oriented policies pursued by the ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Exploring how the application of these ideological principles has impacted on the structure and function of the Ethiopian federal system, the research examines the ways in which these ideological policies of the ruling party affect national consensus, protection of human rights, the rights of minority groups, separation of power principles and the relationship between the federal and regional governments. It also explores the extent to which ideological principles have had an impact on the democratization process, rule of law and in building up institutions such as parliamentary democracy, the judiciary, the media and civil society organizations in the country. Approaching the Ethiopian federal system from the perspective of the fundamental ideological principles of the party in power allows a deeper insight into the structure and function of the ethnic federal system.


’A splendid analysis of the ideological principles of the TPLF/EPRDF that govern Ethiopia’s ethnic federalism. Semahagn lucidly explains the Marxist-inspired concepts of self-determination of nationalities, democratic centralism, revolutionary democracy, the development state model, and the party evaluation mechanism that are so facilely used to justify the FDRE Government’s glaring deficits of democracy and abuses of human rights.’ Theodore M. Vestal, Oklahoma State University, USA ’The book is a superb analysis of Ethiopian federalism. It elucidates how democratic centralism and development state model intertwined and operate as an ideology of legitimation. The book is a unique academic work that incorporates socialist federation which helps readers get insight into the ideological underpinnings of the TPLF/EPDRF notion of federalism. Dr Semahagn Gashu Abebe’s book is an excellent contribution to Ethiopian Studies.’ Solomon Gashaw, University of Minnesota-Morris, USA

About the Author

Dr Semahagn Gashu Abebe is a Research Scholar at the Institute of Human Rights, University of Connecticut, USA. He has widely published on federalism, constitutional law and human rights in the context of sub-Saharan Africa.

About the Series

Federalism Studies

Federalism Studies
The end of the Cold War profoundly altered the dynamics between and within the various states in Europe and the rest of the World, resulting in a resurgence of interest in the concept of federalism. This shift in balance has been further fuelled by the increase in the number of conflicts arising from the disaffection of the diverse ethnic or religious minorities residing within these states (e.g. Sudan, Iraq). Globalization is forcing governments not only to work together, but also to reconsider their internal roles as guarantors of economic growth, with regions playing the major part. Federalism Studies offers academics a complete and in-depth understanding of federalism and intergovernmental relations in historical, theoretical and comparative contexts. Intended to be international and interdisciplinary in scope, the books in the series are designed to build a common framework for the constructive analysis of federalism. Contributions are welcome on topics which explore federalism as a theory; as a political system and as a form of conflict management.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Africa / General