1st Edition

The Politics of Contemporary Ethiopia Ethnic Federalism and Authoritarian Survival

By Yohannes Gedamu Copyright 2021
    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the role of ethnic federalism in Ethiopian politics, reflecting on a long history of division amongst the country’s political elites. The book argues that these patterns have enabled the resilience and survival of authoritarianism in the country, and have led to the failure of democratization.

    Ethnic conflict in Ethiopia stretches back to the country’s imperial history. Competing nationalisms begin to emerge towards the end of the imperial era, but were formalized by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) from the 1990s onwards. Under the EPRDF, ethnicity and language classifications formed the main organizing principles for political parties and organizations, and the country’s new federal arrangement was also designed along ethnic fault lines. This book argues that this ethnic federal arrangement, and the continuation of an elite political culture are major factors in explaining the continuation of authoritarianism in Ethiopia.

    Focusing largely on the last 27 years under the EPRDF and on the political changes of the last few years, but also stretching back to historical narratives of ethnic grievances and division, this book is an important guide to the ethnic politics of Ethiopia and will be of interest to researchers of African politics, authoritarianism and ethnic conflict.

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Part One: The Foundations to Understanding the Politics of Ethiopia

    Chapter 2: Historical Overview of Political Regimes in Pre-1974 Ethiopia

    Chapter 3: The Rise and Fall of the Military Regime and the Emergence of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front-Led-Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front

    Chapter 4: A Review of the Contemporary Literature on Authoritarian Survival and Ethnic Federalism

    Chapter 5: The Strategic Elite and Institutional Designs in Ethiopia: Question of Rights

    Part Two: Ethnic Federalism, an Authoritarian Coalition, and Political Change in Ethiopia

    Chapter 6: Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism: Institutional Frameworks as Mechanisms for Authoritarian Survival

    Chapter 7: Ethnic Federalism and the EPRDF’s Systemic Co-Optation Mechanisms for Survival

    Chapter 8: Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, Ethnic Federalism, and the Anatomy of a Party-State’s Economy

    Chapter 9: Critical Junctures in the Rise and Decline of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front

    Chapter 10: A Defunct Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, the Emergence of the Prosperity Party, and the Fall of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front

    Chapter 11: Conclusion


    Yohannes Gedamu is a Lecturer of Political Science at Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Georgia.