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 comprises 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 states which are delimited on the basis of settlement patterns, language, identity and consent of the peoples concerned.
(Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs website)