Author:Eyob Balcha Gebremariam (LSE)
Paper short abstract:
This paper questions how the Ethiopian ruling party handles the interactions between its Revolutionary Democracy ideology and the narratives of normative politics since its ascent to power in 1991.
Paper long abstract:
Critical examination of ideological orientations of ruling elites can be a valid starting point to explain and understand the interplay between assumptions of normative politics and realpolitik. This paper questions how the Ethiopian ruling party handles the interactions between its Revolutionary Democracy ideology and the narratives of normative politics since its ascent to power in 1991. The article also explores how changes in the ideological orientation of the ruling party have been shaping political processes and institution building in Ethiopian politics over a period of 27 years. The analysis adopts a double periodisation to identify and explain change and continuity within the Ethiopian state and to analyse three different phases that the revolutionary democracy ideology has passed through. In the first set of periodisation, the article identifies and examines four "critical junctures" that brought either new or transformed actors or ideas at the helm of the Ethiopian state. The second set of periodisation traces three different phases that the revolutionary democracy ideology passed through. The second periodisation also explains how and why the ruling party succeeded to transform and change its ideological orientation without losing power. In the conclusion section, the paper applies the two sets of periodisation as a prism to comment on the on-going political crisis in Ethiopia from late 2015 until the end of 2018.
Normative politics in Africa