Analysis: EPRDF’s Percentage of Parliamentary Seats Breaks African Record

May 27th, 2010 | by addis portal |

(By Addis Neger Staff)

The 99.63% parliamentary seats EPRDF got in last Sunday’s election beats the percentage of seats garnered by ruling parties in the ten most authoritarian African states since the end of the cold war, a study by Addis Neger reveals.

Addis Neger selected these ten African countries based on Polity IV data of authority trends. The Polity IV project is considered as the most sophisticated and comprehensive dataset on regime trends by many academics and political analysts. The dataset covers 163 states over the period between 1800-2008.

Addis Neger calculated the  mean of authority trend score of each African country in the Polity IV project list for the period of 1990-2008 and selected the ten  regimes  with the most grip on power among the group of African countries that allow multi-party elections. Somalia and Congo were excluded from the list because the Polity IV dataset  has some methodological problems in scoring authority trends of countries that can practically be regarded as stateless. We defined multi-party elections as elections which had one or more opposition parties involved.  Our definition of involvement by opposition parties was broad. We, for example,  took as multi-party elections cases where all opposition parties announced that they had boycotted the elections but their names were still put in the ballot.

We took 1989 as a cutting off point because it was the start of what political scientists called “the third wave” era of democratization in Africa which coincided with the end of the cold war. Most African states including Ethiopia introduced multi-party elections during this period. We then selected the best results each of these ten most authoritarian African regimes got and compared them to EPRDF’s win last Sunday.

The outcome shows that the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies beat the record set by Yahya Jammeh’s  Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and  Construction in 2002.  Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh is regarded as one of the most despotic leaders in African history.  Meles Zenawi’s EPRDF and allies also beat Mbasongo’s Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea and Gnassingbe Eyadema’s Rally for Togolese Party. Before his death in 2006, Eyadema was named by the Economist magazine as one of the three worst dictators of the world.

EPRDF’s top brass have realized the burden of being associated with these African leaders. According to the party’s sources, the party’s top cadres were ordered to say that they too were surprised by the results as a way of hammering a message that it wasn’t the party’s interest or decision to win such a staggering number of seats.

Country Party and Leader % of the highest number of Seats(1990-2010)
Equatorial Guinea Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea and allies(Teodoro Obiang Ngumea Mbasongo) 91.8%(2004)
Togo Rally for Togolese Party(Gnassingbé Eyadéma’s) 88.88%(2002)
Gabon Gabonese Democratic Party and its allies(Omar Bongo) 83.5(2006)
Gambia Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and  Construction(Yahya Jammeh) 94%(2002)
Tunisia The constitutional Democratic Rally(Zine El Abidine Ben Ali) 81.3%(1999)
Chad Patriotic Salvation Movement(Idriss Deby Itno) 72.9%(2002)
Egypt National Democratic Party(Hossini Mubarak) 79.5(2005)
Sudan National Congress Party(Omar al-Bashir) 68.2(2010)
Uganda National Resistance Movement(Yoweri Museveni) 64.2(2006)
Rwanda Rwandese Patriotic Front and its allies(Paul Kagame) 78.76(2008)
Ethiopia Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front and its allies(Meles Zenawi)
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