EPRDF’s ‘menu of institutional manipulations’ and the 2015 regional elections
Ayele, Zemelak Ayitenew
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Ethiopia is generally considered to have ‘a dominant party authoritarian’ system in which the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), along with its affiliates, enjoy electoral dominance. This contribution argues that EPRDF’s electoral dominance in the 2015 regional elections, indeed in all the elections held in the past two decades, is partly the result of the party’s use of what Schedler refers to ‘menu of institutional manipulations’ including electoral rules, government agencies, local authorities and even civil society organizations, to maintain its dominance. The semi-consociational system that guides the relationships of the constituent parties of EPRDF also provides the latter an electoral edge over the opposition parties which are often fragmented. The paper further argues that EPRDF’s vanguardist self-view, which is an offshoot of its ‘revolutionary democracy’ ideology, underpins its drive to be a dominant party and to use all of the institutional manipulations under its disposal.