Democratization, Injustice, and the African Experience: How and Why the 2005 Democratic Election in Ethiopia Turned Violent


The purpose of this research was to explore, describe, interpret, and analyze factors that contributed to Ethiopia’s post-election-day political crisis, using Africa’s transitions to democracy as a context. By looking closely into the process by which Ethiopia became a “federal democratic republic,” and the country’s political trouble following the May 2005 national election and its crisis-ridden aftermath, this study has attempted to uncover the interaction of the significant factors involved. Unraveling and uncovering the anatomy of a political system that has been taking root in Ethiopia since the 1990s and understanding the present political situation is the focal point of this study.

Using Dahl’s (1971) eight criteria and Ethiopia's 1994 constitution, this study attempted to identify the behaviors exhibited by both the ruling and opposition parties before and after the May 15, 2005 Ethiopian election..

As this study suggests, the 2005 election may be indicative of a trend that has been taking place in Africa’s new democracies. This trend is toward abandoning democracy as we know it in the West for a more convenient form of non-liberal electoral or pseudo-democracy, or the embrace of authoritarian systems of government.


International and Area Studies | Political Science | Politics and Social Change

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