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Sidama Demand for Referendum Tests Ethiopian Federalism

Under the nation’s system of ethnic federalism, the Ethiopian Constitution gives each people the right to establish their own federal state if they wish to do so. The Sidama people voted in July of 2018 to have the nation hold a referendum on whether they could form Ethiopia’s tenth state. The national government has thus far declined to hold the referendum. In response, Sidama leaders have threatened to unilaterally declare the existence of the state on July 18 if agreement cannot be reached on a referendum date. Read more here and here.