Alternative Mechanisms of Electoral Systems for Vibrant Democracy and All Inclusive Representation in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Electoral system design is being recognized as one of the key instruments in democracy in changing votes into seats. In Ethiopia since 1991 various elections have been held, and the electoral system in use is the plurality electoral system. The plurality electoral system is a system whereby, a party or a candidate who garnered most of the votes in a constituency is declared as a winner. It distorts the allocation of seats when changing votes into seats, and benefits the bigger parties. The system has the potential danger to produce a minority government as a result of ‘manufactured majority’ in the legislature, which can generally spell civil strife than democracy. Furthermore, it influences the behaviors of parties negatively in view of the culture of compromise and tolerance, and it is not as inclusive as much as possible to be recommended for such highly diversified and emerging democracy. This paper sets out to show the types of various electoral systems and their consequences. Ethiopia with its federal arrangement and in conjunction with its parliamentary system needs an electoral system that allows more inclusiveness than exclusion, a stable government that sustains credibility and legitimacy, than a government which looses credibility and legitimacy shortly, an electoral system that facilitates for compromises and tolerance than that widens the polarization of the political parties. To foster the democratization process and to redeem from the past backward political culture for a better future this paper argues for the re-thinking and redesign of the electoral system by substantiating with various evidences



Vibrant democracy, Ethiopia, Inclusive representation