Ethiopia: The 100% Election

Issue Date January 2016
Volume 27
Issue 1
Page Numbers 76-88
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Ethiopia’s 2015 elections confirm that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)—having won 100 percent of parliamentary seats—has chosen to entrench an authoritarian system. We argue that this total election victory was meant as a signal to party cadres that defection is not tolerated. Our analysis of intra-regime dynamics shows how the EPRDF has responded to the death of Meles Zenawi through greater reliance on trusted party stalwarts for high-level posts. We conclude that growing demands from lower-level party cadres threaten to transform the ruling party from a disciplined national organization into a patronage-based alliance of ethnic factions.