Democracy deferred : understanding elections and the role of donors in Ethiopia

TitleDemocracy deferred : understanding elections and the role of donors in Ethiopia
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsG.J. Abbink
EditorG.J. Abbink, and M.E. de Bruijn
Secondary TitleLand, law and politics in Africa : mediating conflict and reshaping the state
Series titleAfrican dynamics ; 10
Date Published2011
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsdemocracy, development cooperation, elections, Ethiopia

This chapter revisits the issue of elections and democracy in Africa, a theme that emerged as dominant in scholarly discussions in African Studies in the 1990s. The trigger for featuring Ethiopia as a case study was the May 2010 parliamentary elections when the incumbent party, which had been in power since 1991, took 99.6% of all the seats. While the various Ethiopian elections will not be discussed in detail, the political culture or wider context in which they occur – and always produce the same overall result – will be highlighted to demonstrate the enduring mechanisms and problems of hegemonic rule and how difficult it is to create a democratic system that allows for changes in power (i.e. alternation). The relationship between one-party rule and economic development will also be discussed – the latter being a donor obsession that clouds the political agenda. The chapter closes with some reflections on the recurring donor-country dilemmas when it comes to dealing with electoral autocracies, such as Ethiopia.

IR handle/ Full text URL
Citation Key11475