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ELITES AND POWER STRUCTURES IN POST-1991 ETHIOPIA: THE MAKING AND REMAKING OF THE STATE [Abstract ID: 0904-01]
The political structure of the post-1991 Ethiopia has been significantly reconfigured. Many witnessed new trends of elite formations and political relations emerging based on identity. As the result, the rural elites dominate the political setup of the post -1991 Ethiopia. Consequently, the urban–rural elite cleavage, shaped by socio-economic differences, has increasingly become a fault-line of political settlement and competition for power in Ethiopia. The urban elites felt that they were marginalized and deprived access to the mainstream of the nation’s politics; hence the new structure of power is predominately occupied by rural elites who mainly originate from different ethnic groups. This article presents the power struggle (inclusion and polarization) between the rural and urban elites that significantly altered the post-1991 political order and the new state structure in Ethiopia. We employed for major variables such as: recruitment, integration, representation and power exercise in the analysis. The data used to support the presented findings were obtained from primary (interviews and survey questioner) and secondary sources (audio and visual documents, and literature). The findings show that political recruitment has been carried out based on identity and the rural ethno-elites seem to be dominating the state power by controlling all hierarchical official positions from the local to the federal government. The urban elite have lost access to and marginalized from the power structure. Thus their ability to articulate their interests and political demands substantially decreased. Consequently, the urban elite involves in wide spread political resistance against the new state structure.