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Powers – mengist – and peasants in rural Ethiopia: the post-2005 interlude

  • René Lefort (a1)

Abstract

Most of the reports about the reaction of the Ethiopian regime to the blow that it suffered in the 2005 elections focus on its institutional evolution, and conclude that it took a turn towards even stronger authoritarianism. Observations made in a rural community in south-east Amhara State reveal that it reacted first, until the end of 2009, by a whole range of the deepest reforms since its takeover in 1991. These combined a stronger grip of the ruling party in all areas with a ‘liberalisation’ of the rural development strategy and first steps towards local ‘good governance’. They were embodied in the rise of the traditional rural elite which had been ostracised for years, as if the regime was trying to build its new constituency on it. But at the end of 2009 the local authorities suddenly returned to the all-encompassing authoritarian attitude characteristic of the pre-2005 period. This ‘liberalisation’ could thus be seen as merely a tactical interlude, conceded by a ruling party still driven by its Leninist legacy and the Abyssinian ‘culture of power’.

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Powers – mengist – and peasants in rural Ethiopia: the post-2005 interlude

  • René Lefort (a1)

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