System of Government: Federal democratic Republic. A new constitution adopted in 1995 introduced a federal system of government and established the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). Federalism has not only maintained unity and peace among the peoples, but also prevented the dominance of the ruling party and enhanced public participation in national affairs. The federal government is responsible for national defense, foreign relations and general policy of common interest and benefits. The State Council has the power of legislation on matters falling under State jurisdiction. The Council has power to draft, adopt and amend the state constitution. The State administration constitutes the highest organ of executive power.
Form of Government: parliamentarian form of government.
State of the Federation: nine member states are delimited on the bases of settlement patterns, language identity and consent of the people concerned. Member states of the Federal Democratic Republic are:-
- The State of Tigray
- The State of Afar
- The State of Amhara
- The State of Oromia
- The State of Somalia
- The State of Benshangul/ Gumuz
- The State of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples.
- The State of the Gambela people
- The State of the Harari people
The Structure and division of power
Structure of the organs of state: The Federal democratic republic of Ethiopia comprises the Federal Government and the State members. Both have legislative, executive and judicial powers. The House of Peoples' Representatives is the highest authority of the Federal Government. The House is responsible to the People. The State Council is the highest organ of the state authority. It is responsible to the People of the State.
Adequate power is granted to the lowest units of local government to enable the People participate directly in the administration of such units.
The Federal Houses: These are two houses: The House of Peoples' Representatives and the House of the Federation. Members of the House of Peoples' 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 Peoples' Representatives has legislative power in all matters assigned by the constitution to federal jurisdiction. A political party or a coalition of political parties with the highest number of seats in the House of Peoples' Representatives assumes government power. 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 state. The House of Peoples' Representatives nominates the candidate for president. The nominee shall be elected president if a joint session of the House of Peoples' 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 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 Ministers, and the Commander-in-Chief of the national armed forces. The PM submits for approval to the House of Peoples' Representatives nominees for ministerial posts from among members of the two Houses or from among persons who are not members of either House and possess the required qualifications. The Council of Ministers is responsible to the PM and, in all its decisions, is responsible to the House of Peoples' Representatives. The council of Ministers ensures the implementation of laws and decisions adopted by the HPRS.
The Judiciary: The highest and final judicial power over Federal matters is vested in the Federal Supreme Court. The highest and final judicial power over State matters is vested in the State Supreme Courts. 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 jurisdictions 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 or 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.