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  • Author: Mohammed Hashas
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Compared to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, Morocco's political development looks like an oasis of tranquillity. "Moroccan exceptionalism" is often drawn on as a positive status, the result of at least one decade of reforms implemented by the monarchy, long before the Arab Spring events. An alternative view is offered by some civil society movements inside the country and by the 20 February Movement, born amidst the waves of the Arab Spring, which are critical of this exceptionalism and call for more reforms. By making reference to the constitutional reforms undertaken by the country since 1908 and by assessing the most recent reform efforts, this paper argues that "Moroccan exceptionalism" is yet to go through the test of the implementation of what is often referred to as a "promising constitution" that should in its intentions pave the way for a genuine constitutional monarchy in Morocco. "Moroccan exceptionalism," as the paper concludes, is not the description of a "final" political situation; rather, it is merely "a phase" in the political life of a country undergoing transition. It is then the outcome of this "phase" that will determine whether "exceptionalism" takes on a positive or a negative meaning and whether the two contrasting narratives about "exceptionalism" can ultimately be reconciled.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Political Economy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Upon the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, The Carter Center observed the country's May 15, 2005, elections for the national and regional parliaments. The May elections marked an historic event in the country, as Ethiopia witnessed its first genuinely competitive campaign period with multiple parties fielding strong candidates. Unfortunately, what began with a comparatively open period of campaigning and an orderly voting process on election day was followed by flawed counting and tabulation processes in many areas; repeated incidents of serious postelection violence, including the killing of many dozens of people during electoral protests; a significant delay in finalizing election results; and an ineffective complaints review and investigation processes. In spite of the positive pre-election developments, therefore, The Carter Center concludes that the 2005 electoral process did not fulfill Ethiopia's obligations to ensure the exercise of political rights and freedoms necessary for genuinely democratic elections.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Lahra Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Assistant professor at Georgetown University, where she teaches courses on African politics, civil society and democracy in Africa, and peace and conflict in East Africa. The pardon and release of thirty-eight political detainees, mostly from the leadership of the main opposition party, may give impetus to political negotiations in Ethiopia after more than two years' crisis and stalemate. Contentious and previously unresolved national issues, such as land and economic development; the institutional and constitutional structure of the Ethiopian state; and the best way to ensure equality of ethnic and religious communities, were brought to the fore during the past election cycle. However, after the election, much- needed national dialogue on these matters ended. It must be reinvigorated now that the political opposition's leaders have been freed. Citizen discontent has grown with the caretaker administration in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa and repressive local administrations. Elections for city and local government must be held. Further delays will undermine any democratic progress. The current Parliament includes members of several opposition political parties, though not the leaders who were imprisoned. Both the ruling party and the main opposition parties should make as many visible and meaningful concessions as possible to their political opponents. Ethiopia's military intervention in Somalia in December 2006, its ongoing military presence in that conflict, and its unchanged, tense border stalemate with Eritrea have contributed to growing violence in the Horn of Africa and stymied domestic democratization.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, East Africa
  • Author: Terrence Lyons
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: May 15, 2005 elections presented the Ethiopian people a remarkable opportunity to express their political views by participating in a poll that offered them a meaningful choice. In contrast to earlier elections in 1995 and 2000, opposition parties did not boycott but rather competed vigorously across the country. Opposition party mistrust of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), reports of intimidation and violence, and highly polarizing rhetoric raised concerns during the pre-election period but did not deter opposition parties from campaigning in nearly every constituency. Live, televised debates on matters of public policy, opposition party access to state-owned media, and huge, peaceful rallies in the final week of campaigning made it clear that these elections would represent a critical moment in Ethiopia's political development. The Ethiopian people recognized this opportunity and turned out in overwhelming numbers to vote, forcing some polling stations in Addis Ababa to stay open 24 hours to accommodate those in line.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Alemayehu Geda, Abebe Shimeles
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In 1991 the Ethiopian Revolution Democratic Front (EPRDF) toppled the old 'socialist' regime that had ruled the country for seventeen years. In contrast to the previous policy regime of hard control, EPRDF initiated a wide range of reforms that covered not only the tax system but also the exchange rate, interest rates, trade, domestic production and distribution. This pa per attempts to explore the contribution of the tax reform, the change s in its structure and institutional reform in order to understand its role in raising revenue.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Jeffrey Isima
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Facilitation Network for Security Sector Reform
  • Abstract: Located within one of the most volatile, conflict-ridden, drought-prone and poorest regions of Africa –– the Horn of Africa –– the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is currently faced with a daunting challenge of transforming its political and economic systems for sustainable development.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Reconstructing Africa's war damaged economies is an urgent task. This is especially so in a group of countries - Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique - which must also complete their economic and political transition from state socialism. Somalia, which shares their common history, must eventually be rebuilt. All of these countries must address their deep problems of underdevelopment and poverty. The challenges are therefore three-fold: to overcome underdevelopment, to make the transition from state socialism, and to reconstruct economies and societies.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau