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Vol 42 No 9

Published 4th May 2001


Ethiopia

Storm after the storm

A split in the dominant party may be good for national unity

Ethiopia is in political crisis. In most countries, this would be natural after such riots as those of 17 and 18 April. Perhaps 41 people were killed (according to hospital figures), while more than 400 were injured and over 3,000, mainly students, were arrested. However, the country is in fact in crisis because of the split in the ruling group - not the formally ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front but one of its components, the Tigray People's Liberation Front. The TPLF pulls the strings and provides the Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi (AC Vol 42 Nos 4 & 6). During two years of war with Eritrea, nobody spoke out in public against Meles. Now, like his Eritrean counterpart President Issayas Aferworki, he faces pent-up grievances from his own faction.

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