Aces (2) by W. Wayne Patton PDF

By W. Wayne Patton

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Notable trends of federalism, in various forms, have been manifested in different countries of the continent. After the overthrow of the military socialist government (1974–91) by violent armed struggle in 1991, measures have been undertaken to establish an ethnic federalism in Ethiopia. The new structure is a complete departure from the historical centralised system of government in Ethiopia. After the adoption of the 1995 constitution, Ethiopia is officially a Federal Democratic Republic. The federation consists of nine federations that are largely organised in ethnic lines.

After such policies proved to be unworkable, they attempted to distance themselves from the issue by claiming the neutrality of the state to cultural rights and appealing to the civic state model (Arel 2001: 72). Many of the classical theorists of federalism Federalism and the Accommodation of Diversity 25 did not break with the monistic language of identity which claims: ‘you have to identify either with your own group or with all of human kind’ (Karmis and Norman 2005: 10). Mill’s famous quotation on ‘free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities’ still plays an important role and partly explains the huge challenges of multicultural societies in building sustainable democratic polities and maintaining unity (Karmis and Norman 2005: 12).

11 Constitutions of 1945–46 and 1963–91. 12 Constitution of 1957–65. 13 A Constitution until 1983. 14 Constitution of 1994 to present. 36 The Last Post-Cold War Socialist Federation Wheare approaches the issue of secession in federations from a different perspective. He maintains that ‘the essential requirement of a federal government is that there should be no right of secession from the federal state by the regional governments and if such an action is permitted, it means that the general government is subordinated to the regional governments or vice versa and implies the end of the federal union’ (Wheare 1964: 91).

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