Ethiopia's Elections are Just an Exercise in Controlled Political Participation

Ethiopians will go to the polls on 24 May. Few observers doubt the outcome, with the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) expected to remain in power.
While symbolically significant – this is the first general election since the death of the long-serving prime minister Meles Zenawi in 2012 – the polls are more of a logistical hurdle for the ruling party than a competitive, democratic exercise. What happens after the elections is more important for stability than the conduct of the polls themselves.
The prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, will lead the EPRDF into the elections, but there is intense speculation about how long he will remain in charge. Senior figures in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, Meles’ former party and the core constituent group of the EPRDF, are assumed to be competing to succeed Desalegn as national leader.