Constituting Democracy after Empire: Ethiopia’s Quest for a Federal Democratic Republic
In 1974, a popular revolution brought down centuries-old imperial rule to an end. Nonetheless, a military junta hijacked the revolution and installed the First Republic along with socialism. Decades of ethnonational struggle removed the military junta in 1991 to establish the Second Republic with ethnic federalism. Years of popular protest movements force the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which ruled Ethiopia from 1991-2018, to make political reforms and elect Abiy Ahmed as a prime minister in 2018. In December 2019, prime minister Abiy Ahmed transformed the EPRDF into the Prosperity Party. As it stands, the Second Republic is under stress more than any time since its inauguration in 1995. Thus far, Ethiopia has been struggling to be federal, democratic, and republic. This research project investigates the travails and future trajectories of Ethiopia’s quest for a federal democratic republic in light of the broader African and international contexts.