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The Puzzle of Ethiopian Politics

Terrence Lyons
The Puzzle of Ethiopian Politics
ISBN: 978-1-62637-798-1
ISBN: 978-1-62637-833-9
2019/245 pages/LC: 2019009433
"Lyons's timely and well-written volume provides a great service." —Jan Erk, Northeast African Studies

"Extensively detailed and clearly written.... [An] important book." —Choice

"An eminently readable and accessible overview of the subject." —Tom Gardner, Foreign Policy


How did a group with its origins in a small Marxist-Leninist insurgency in northern Ethiopia transform itself into a party (the EPRDF) with eight million members and a hierarchy that links even the smallest Ethiopian village to the center? How do the legacies of protracted civil war and rebel victory over the brutal Derg regime continue to shape contemporary Ethiopian politics? And can the EPRDF, after widespread protests and a state of emergency, transform itself under new leadership to meet popular demands?

Answering these questions in his comprehensive study of nearly three decades of Ethiopian politics, Terrence Lyons argues that the very structures that enabled the ruling party to overcome the challenges of a war-to-peace transition are the source of the challenges that it faces now. While the new political leadership has promised dramatic reforms, Lyons observes, the powerful authoritarian ruling party remains in place, unreconstructed.


Terrence Lyons is professor in the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University.


  • The Puzzle of Ethiopian Politics.
  • Legacies of War.
  • New Rules of the Game.
  • The EPRDF in Power.
  • Diverse Opposition.
  • Elections and the Closing of Political Space
  • The Developmental State.
  • Popular Uprising.
  • The Ethiopian Transformation?
  • Continuity and Change.