The Government and Political System

Ethiopia adopted a new constitution that established the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) in 1995.The federal government is responsible for national defense, foreign relations and general policy of common interest and benefits. The federal state comprise nine autonomous states vested with power for self-determination. The FDRE is structured along the lines of bicameral parliament, with the council of Peoples’ Representatives being the highest authority of the federal government while the federal council represents the common interests of the nations, nationalities and peoples of the states. Members of both councils are elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term.

The federal state is headed by a constitution president and the federal government by an executive prime minister who is accountable to the council of peoples’ Representative. Each autonomous state is headed by a state president elected by the state council. The judiciary is constitutionally independent.

The Federal Democratic Republic is composed of state which are delimited on the basis of settlement patterns, language, identity and consent of the peoples concerned.

The Constitution

General Provision
The constitution is the supreme law of the land. Human rights and freedoms, emanating from the nature of mankind, are inviolable and inalienable. In addition, state and religion are separate and there is no state religion. Besides, the state does not interfere in religious matters and vice versa. All Ethiopian languages enjoy equal state recognition and Amharic would be the working language of the Federal government.
Fundamental rights and freedom
All persons are equal before the law and are guaranteed equal and effective protection, without discrimination on grounds of race, nation, nationality, or other social origin, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion property, birth or other status. Every one has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the freedom, either individually or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest his/her religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching. Every person has the inviolable and inalienable right of life, privacy and the security of person and liberty.
Democratic Rights
Every one has the right to hold opinions and has freedom of expression without interference. Freedom of the press and other media and freedom of artistic creativity is also guaranteed without the prohibition of any form of censorship and giving access to information of public interest. Every person has the right to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peaceably and unarmed and to petition. Besides, the constitution gives for any person the right to freedom of association for any cause or purpose.
State Structure
The FDRE has a parliamentarian form of government and comprises nine states and two administrative cities, Addis Ababa being the capital city of the Federal State.
Structure and division of powers
The FDRE comprises the Federal Government and the member states. The Federal Government and the states have legislative, executive and judicial powers. The House of People's Representatives is the highest authority of the Federal Government. The House is responsible to the people. The State Council is the highest organ of state authority. It is responsible to the people of the state. State government has been established at state and other administrative levels deemed necessary. Adequate power has been granted to the lowest units of government to enable the people to participate directly in the administration of such units. The state council has legislative power on matters falling under state jurisdiction. Consistent with the provisions of this constitution, the council has the power to draft adopt and amend the state constitution. The state administration constitutes the highest organ executive power and State judicial power is vested in its courts. The state shall respect the powers of the Federal Government. The Federal Government shall likewise respect the powers of the states. The Federal Government may, when necessary, delegate to the states of powers and functions granted to it by the constitution.
The Federal Houses
These are two houses: The House of people's Representatives and the house of the Federation.
Members of the House of People's Representatives are elected by the people for a term of five years on the basis of universal suffrage and by direct, free and fair elections.

The House of People's Representatives has legislative power in all matters assigned by the constitution to federal jurisdiction. The political party or coalition of political parties that have the greatest number of seats in the house of people's Representatives form and lead the Executive.
The House of the Federation is composed of representatives of nations, nationalities and peoples. Each nation, nationality and people can be represented in the House of federation by at least one member.

Members of the house of the Federation shall be elected by the state council. The state councils can themselves elect representatives to the House of the Federation, or they can hold elections to have the representatives elected by the people directly.

President of the Republic
The president of the FDRE is the Head of states. The House of Peoples Representatives nominates the candidate for president. The nominee shall be elected president if a joint session of the House of People's Representatives and the House of the Federation approves his candidacy by a two-third's majority vote. The term of office of the president will be six years and no person can be elected president for mor more than two terms.
The Executive
The highest executive powers of the Federal Government are vested in the Prime Minister and in the council of ministers. The PM and the Council of Ministers are collectively responsible for all decisions they make as a body.
The Prime Minister is the chief executive, the chairman of the council of the ministers, and the commander-in-chief of the national armed forces. The PM shall submit for approval to the House of people's Representatives nominees for ministerial posts from among members of the two Hoses or from among persons who are not members of either House and possess the required qualifications. The Council of Minister is responsible to the PM and, in all its decisions, is responsible to the House of peoples Representatives. The council of Ministers ensure the implementation of laws and decisions adopted by the HPRS.

Structure and power of courts
Supreme Federal judicial authority is vested in the Federal Supreme Court. The House of peoples Representatives can, by a two-thirds majority vote, establish nationwide, or in some parts of the country only, the Federal High Court and First-Instance Courts it deems necessary. Unless decided in this manner, the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court and of the First-Instance courts are hereby delegates to the State Courts. State can establish State Supreme, High and First-Instance courts. Judicial powers both at federal and state levels, are vested in the courts. Courts of any level are free from any interference of influence of any governmental body, government official or from any other source. Judges can exercise their functions in full independence and can be directed solely by the law.
External Relations
Ethiopia sets directives on external relations in its constitution prioring to respect the equality and sovereignty of other state and not to intervene in their internal affairs. Besides, it works to promote external relations on the basis of equality, and respect of common interests as well as promote fraternal relations with its neighbors and other African countries. In addition, the country wants to create close economic links with its neighbors and other countries supporting peaceful resolution to international disputes if it happened.

EXISTING GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE

Official Name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Head of state H.E Ato Meles Zenawi
President Girma Wolde Giorgis

Head of Government

Prime Minister - H.E Ato Meles Zenawi
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agricalture and Rural Development - H.E Ato Addisu Legesse
Minister of Foreign Affairs - H.E Ato Seyoum Mesfin
Governor of the National Bank - Ato Teklewold Atnafu
House of People Representatives

Speaker - H.E Teshome Toga

D. Speakers - H.E Shitaye Minale

House of Federation

Speaker - H.E Degife Bulan

D. Speakers - H.E Dr. Mohammed Siraye

For more information click here


   

   
© 2007 Permanent Mission of Ethiopia, Geneva. All Rights Reserved.
Designed and maintained by AZA.
Last updated 23-01-07 11:30 CEF DST
Legal information