“Hard liners” still feel that 17 years of bloody and exhausting armed struggle against the Mengistu regime gives them an undisputed right to govern, and that this legitimacy is irrevocable, because it is more deserving than any that could be claimed by an alternative force emerging through the ballot box.
This sense of legitimacy should be restricted to TPLF for the following reason. Were TPLF to fight for 17 years against a non-Ethiopian entity, then they should have a true claim to legitimacy. However, TPLF fought against another Ethiopian force, but both TPLF and the Derg are equally detested by Ethiopians. There is little to no sense of gratituty from the other Ethiopians. Infact the other Ethiopians must feel resentment. The soldiers that died in the battlefields were Oromo Amhara Sidama and Gurage.
I consider the source of TPLF's legitimacy to power is the fear it instilled into the population, INCLUDING DIASPORA POLITICIANS, that if it loses power the country will go up in ethnic flame. The same way Dergu's legitimacy was based on its self-appointment to the protection of the territorial integrity of the country. It is all an illusion.