Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front

Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
Chairman Meles Zenawi
Deputy Chairman Debretsion
Founded May 1988 (1988-05)
Dissolved 1 December 2019 (2019-12-01)
Succeeded by Prosperity Party
Headquarters Addis Ababa
Newspaper New Vision
Youth wing EPRDF Youth League
Women's wing EPRDF Women's League
Membership (2011) 6,000,000[citation needed]
Ideology After 1991:
Revolutionary democracy
Ethnic federalism
Until 1991:
Political position After 1991:
Centre-left to left-wing
Until 1991:
Colours      Red
Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
Participant in Oromo conflict, Ethiopian Civil War, Eritrean–Ethiopian War
Emblem of Ethiopia.svg
Active 1988–2019
Status majority unified into the Prosperity Party
Ideology Ethnic federalism
Founders Meles Zenawi
  • TPLF (1988-2018)
  • ODP (2018-present)
Headquarters Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Colours  Ethiopia

The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF; Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝቦች አብዮታዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ግንባር ye’ītiyop’iya ḥizibochi ābiyotawī dīmokirasīyawī ginibari) was an ethnic federalist[4] political coalition in Ethiopia. The EPRDF consisted of four political parties, namely Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (SEPDM).[4] After leading the overthrow of the Communist People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it dominated Ethiopian politics from 1991 to 2019.

In November 2019, the EPRDF dissolved, and Prime Minister and EPDRF chairman Abiy Ahmed merged most of the constituent parties of the coalition (except the TPLF) into a new party called the Prosperity Party.[5] The party was officially founded on 1 December.


During the Ethiopian Civil War, the EPRDF was a rebel group battling the Derg, a military regime led by Mengistu Haile Mariam that was effectively in power from 1974 until it was replaced by the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in 1987. During this period, the Derg was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of opponents without trial in the Qey Shibir and the 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia resulting in 400,000 deaths.[6]

The EPRDF was formed by the union of the TPLF and the Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (EPDM) in early-1989. They were later joined by the OPDO (the Oromo members of the TPLF, EPLF, and EPDM) and the Ethiopian Democratic Officers' Revolutionary Movement (a small body of Derg officers captured by TPLF, most notably at Shire in February 1989, which was later disbanded after the establishment of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia).[4]

Following the collapse of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in the early 1990s, the EPRDF gained support from the United States. Michael Johns, an Africa expert with The Heritage Foundation, wrote in 1991 that "there are some modestly encouraging signs that the front intends to abandon Mengistu's autocratic practices".[7]



The EPRDF was an alliance of four political parties:

The EPRDF was led by a Council as well as an Executive Committee, whose members were selected every three years by a congress of the party. The four member parties had the same organizational structure. Government and party structures were closely intertwined.[8]

The other five regions of Ethiopia were governed by parties which were either created or heavily influenced by the EPRDF.[9] One of the earliest was the Afar People's Democratic Organization in the Afar Region, which subsequently merged with other Afar political groups to create the Afar National Democratic Party (ANDP).[10] These wwere the five regional parties:[11]


The EPRDF had not espoused a well-defined unified ideology or political philosophy. Its members held a variety of positions that could be broadly defined as being to the left of the opposition parties.[4] The EPRDF traditionally identified itself with a number of general goals, namely rapid export-based economic growth; close cooperation with the United States in foreign and defense policies; close cooperation with China on economic and trade policies: and several newer issues, such as administrative reform. Administrative reform encompassed several themes, namely simplification and streamlining of government bureaucracy; privatization of state-owned enterprises; and adoption of measures, including tax reform, in preparation for the expected strain on the economy posed by a rapidly growing population.[12] Other priorities in the early 1990s included the promotion of a more active and positive role for Ethiopia following the collapse of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the internationalization of Ethiopia's economy by the liberalization and promotion of domestic demand (expected to lead to the industrialization) and the promotion of education.[12] A business-inspired commitment to free enterprise was tempered by the insistence of protectionism and tariffs.

Election results

Election Leader No. of candidates No. of seats won No. of Constituency votes % of Constituency vote Government/Opposition
1995 Meles Zenawi 1,881
471 / 500
16,429,727 82.9% Government
2000 Meles Zenawi
472 / 527
2005 Meles Zenawi
327 / 527
12,237,655 59.8% Government
2010 Meles Zenawi 1,349
499 / 547
2015 Hailemariam Desalign 1,851
500 / 547
26,403,177 Government