Constitutional Regulation of Political Parties in Ethiopia: A Comparative Appraisal

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Being a logical place where an examination of the rights and duties of political parties begins, the national constitution should properly recognizes political parties as manifestation of political participation and political pluralism. Constitutional regulation of political parties plays important roles in ensuring a level political playing field. The objective of this research is thus to examine the constitutional status of political parties in Ethiopia. To this end, an extensive analysis of the relevant literature, and the constitutions of Germany, Nigeria and Kenya have been made. The examination of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia reveals that the Constitution does not contain sufficient rules on political parties. This failure arguably gives the ruling party an opportunity to manipulate the political process while keeping opposition parties out of meaningful political participation. It moreover makes an attempt to control the behavior of opposition parties more difficult. The research reviews the consequences of non constitutionalization of political parties in Ethiopia. This is necessary in order to examine the possible problems arising out of the non-constitutionalization of parties. The central argument of the research is that most of the problems associated with political parties are primarily attributed to the non-constitutionlization of the regulation of political parties.