Ethiopia Democratic Reform Process

Ethiopia Democratic Reform Process

In May 1991 Addis Ababa was captured and the government overthrown. Mengistu Haile Mariam fled to Zimbabwe. Ato Meles Zenawi , leader of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), became the new president in July 1991. The EPLF formed a separate government for Eritrea in June 1991, which has been virtually independent since then. In the 1993 referendum, 98.8% of Eritreans voted for the proclamation of an independent state. On May 3, 1993 the government of Ethiopia recognized the sovereignty of its former province. In 1995 Eritrea and Ethiopia signed an agreement to create a free trade area. In 1994 the trial of those in exile in Zimbabwe took place in Addis Ababaliving former President Mengistu Haile Mariam and others responsible for the previous terror regime for genocide and crimes against humanity. In 2006 Mengistu Haile Mariam was finally found guilty of genocide during his reign and in 2007 sentenced (in absentia) to life imprisonment. The sentence was commuted to the death penalty in 2008.

After the end of almost 30 years of civil war in Ethiopia, one of the longest in African history, President Meles Zenawi resigned Steps towards the democratization and economic stabilization of the country. In addition to ethnic conflicts, this process was also seriously endangered by acute famines caused by the civil war and multiple periods of drought, especially since the mid-1980s. In 1994 a constituent assembly was elected, in which the EPRDF had a majority, and a new constitution was adopted (entered into force in 1995). 9 regional states with secession rights were created for the various peoples. In the first free parliamentary elections in 1995, which were boycotted by the main opposition parties, the EPRDF won an overwhelming victory. The previous interim president Meles Zenawi then became prime minister, the Oromo historian trained in Germany Negaso Gidada (* 1943, † 2019) elected President of the newly named “Democratic Federal Republic of Ethiopia”. Visit for Ethiopia as a tourism country.

In June 1998 a war broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea due to differing territorial claims, which was followed by the occupation of parts of Eritrea at the beginning of 2000. The war, which killed around 80,000 people, was ended in June 2000 with a ceasefire agreement. A peace treaty signed in December 2000 included, among other things. a general renunciation of force and a several kilometers wide buffer zone along the shared border within Eritrea under UN supervision (established in April 2001).

After the EPRDF had won the parliamentary elections again in May 2000, as expected, and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was confirmed in office in October 2000, Parliament elected Girma Wolde Giorgis (* 1925, † 2018) as the new President in October 2001. In 2003 the country suffered from the worst famine since the 1980s. According to estimates by international organizations, around 15 million people were dependent on food aid. An alliance of 15 opposition groups (United Ethiopian Democratic Forces, UEDF) established in September 2003 made Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the ruling EPRDF party responsible for the famine due to neglect of land reforms, irrigation projects and preventive measures. As expected, the EPRDF won an absolute majority in the 2005 parliamentary elections.

An independent commission set up as part of the peace agreement with Eritrea had determined the border between the two countries on the basis of applicable international law. The arbitration tribunal in The Hague set Ethiopia a deadline of November 2007 to recognize the border determinations made. Ethiopia let this ultimatum pass. The conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia intensified again. There were multiple troop concentrations near the border. In 2008 the UN Security Council decided not to extend the UN mission and to withdraw the 1,700 blue helmet soldiers stationed in the Ethiopian-Eritrean border area after Eritrea had severely restricted the freedom of movement of soldiers patrolling its area.

Tensions arose with neighboring Somalia when, from June 2006, the Sharia militias had taken the Somali capital Mogadishu and large parts of the country and the Christian Ethiopia now feared an invasion, v. a. in the Ogaden region, which is mostly inhabited by Somalis. From December 2006, the Ethiopian armed forces actively supported the Somali troops in their fight against the Sharia militia, which were finally defeated in Somalia by the beginning of 2007. Since 2007, the military clashes with the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in Ogaden have intensified.

In the parliamentary elections in 2010, the ruling EPRDF again won the majority of the seats. The opposition remained marginalized. Election observers from the EU and the USA criticized the government’s massive influence on the election process. Military clashes with the ONLF continued in the Ogaden region. In 2011, Ethiopia declared that it supported opposition forces in Eritrea seeking a change of government. Eritrea has bombed the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa Planned at the beginning of the year. In early 2012, rebels from the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity (ARDUF) attacked a European hiking group near the Eritrean border and killed five people. As a result, Ethiopian troops attacked military bases in Eritrea, where ARDUF rebels were allegedly trained. This was the first military action against Eritrea that Ethiopia has confirmed since the end of the border war in 2000. Long-time ruler Meles Zenawi died in August 2012. The previous Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn took over the chairmanship of the ruling party EPRDF on September 15, 2012. Six days later he was also elected as the new prime minister. On October 7, 2013, the Ethiopian parliament elected Mulatu Teshome Wirtu (* 1956) as the new President.

Together with its allies, the EPRDF won all parliamentary seats in the 2015 parliamentary elections. From November 2015, government plans to expand the area of ​​the capital Addis Ababa to include the Oromo area repeatedly led to bloody clashes between the security forces and Oromo demonstrators who protested against land grabbing and discrimination. The anti-government protests also spread to the Amhara region. The government imposed a state of emergency for six months on October 9, 2016, which was extended by a further four months in March 2017. In order to pave the way for political reforms, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation at the beginning of 2018. New leader of the EPRDF and new Prime Minister was on March 27th. or 2.4.2018 Abiy Ahmed . With him, an Oromo, also from Muslim-Christian parents, took over the office of head of government for the first time. He initiated domestic political détente (such as dialogue with the various ethnic groups, the release of political prisoners) and announced the end of the state of war with Eritrea and the liberalization of economic policy. On July 9, 2018, he signeda peace and friendship treaty with Eritrea in Asmara.

On October 25, 2018, following the resignation of incumbent President Mulatu, Parliament unanimously elected professional diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde as President. The election of a woman to the representative office was considered to be trend-setting in the country in which there is formally equal rights laid down in the constitution, but genital mutilation and child marriage are practiced.

Ethiopia Democratic Reform Process

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