Breaking and making the State : the dynamics of ethnic democracy in Ethiopia

TitleBreaking and making the State : the dynamics of ethnic democracy in Ethiopia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsG.J. Abbink
Secondary TitleJournal of contemporary African studies
Pagination149 - 163
Date Published1995///
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Publication Languageeng
Keywords1991, 1994, democracy, elections, Ethiopia, ethnicity, policy

Since taking over power in May 1991 the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, dominated by the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), with at its core the Tigray Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF), has embarked on a "revolutionary-democratic" reform policy directed at the consolidation of power and the strict implementation of its own agenda of "democratization" along ethnic lines. The underlying motive is to break the old sociopolitical order and the hegemony of the "Amhara" people. The aim is to construct a political structure of counterbalancing regions, ideologically buttressed by supposedly self-evident collective "ethnic identities". The long-term role of the centre, the Ethiopian State, is still in doubt. The author surveys developments in Ethiopia since 1991, outlining the new policy and its underlying assumptions, detailing the results and problems of the Ethiopian experiment and commenting on the elections for a "Constituent Assembly", held on 5 June 1994, and the prospects of the "ethnic State". Bibliogr., notes, ref

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