The ability to register to vote in the Upcoming May elections is coming to a close. So far registration for the elections this year is low.
The public's past experience with politics has created a wariness by people as they are not forthcoming in political discussions with foreigners. It is common practice with-in the populace to not speak with others regarding their political opinions as families and their members have been beaten or imprisoned for their views or actions during election time. This is understandable when you include the turmoil that the people of Ethiopia have experienced in the recent memorable years including but of course not limited to their oppression during Derg rule and the shooting during "peaceful" demonstrations in the even the latest election. To learn some basics High level infomation about Ethiopian politics visit this site: http://africanelections.tripod.com/et.html
some basic history (from site above):
1889-1931 Absolute Monarchy
1931-1936 Traditional Monarchy (In practice, still an absolute monarchy)
1936-1941 Italian "Occupation"
1941-1955 Traditional Monarchy (In practice, still an absolute monarchy)
1955-1974 Traditional Monarchy
1974-1984 Military Regime
1984-1987 Military Regime & [De-Facto] One Party State (WPE)
1987-1991 One Party State (WPE)
1991-1995 Transitional Government/Multiparty Transition
1995- Emerging Democracy
As the Elections near the NEBE (National Electoral Board of Ethopia) is going to host a website -although it is likely to be "scrubbed" and clean as this is a government agency (and the government controls the media) it will likely describe the parties-it's candidate along with his/her qualifications and platforms. The good news is that when launched (sometime this month)- it is suppose to be published in Amharic and English. www.electionethiopia.org
Let's hope for few deaths, excellent reporting and for a strong turn out by the registered populace!