Accepted paper:

Ethiopian Political Elite: Continuity and Change


Rania Hassan (Cairo University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper attempts to draw a detailed picture of the Ethiopian political elite; probing the continuity and change in the formation of this elite, its main characteristics and discussing the factors explaining them

Paper long abstract:

This paper looks at the configuration of the Ethiopian political elite since the rise of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRD). Using the Position Method as a sampling strategy, this paper focuses on political elite in key executive and legislative institutions. The paper concludes that there are three main characteristics of the Ethiopian elite; first, it is a "partisan elite" which means that political parties play a very important role as recruiting mechanisms leaving almost no room for other recruiting channels. Second, it is a ruling elite dominated by politicians and figures who belong to the ruling coalition i.e the EPRDF and its four main parties and to a lesser degree other allied political parties which means the absence of opposition figures. Third it is highly concentrated in what is known as the "inner circle" or "the ministerial core" who play central roles in different circles (i.e. political parties, regional and legislative bodies …etc., The paper also discusses factors that explain the above mentioned characteristics particularly the nature of the Ethiopian political system and its revolutionary Democracy that influenced elite and how it is configured as well as ethnic politics in the country.

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Politics and International Relations
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