Ethiopia country overview

Ethiopia Government

Ethiopia information index

Ethiopia Government

Constitutional framework

Ethiopia underwent significant changes in its ancient feudal government during the reign of Haile Selassie I (1930-1974). Selassie introduced a weak parliament consisting of appointed and elected legislators, a modernized judiciary with civil and criminal codes, and an executive cabinet headed by a prime minister who answered to the emperor. In 1974, the Derg came into power with the promise of revolutionary change. They established a Soviet-style government, with a state president, a house of deputies, and a revolutionary council with a politburo at the top. In 1991, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) took control of the capital and introduced a temporary constitution called the National Charter. They formed a State Council and a Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE). The TGE endorsed the secession of Eritrea, realigned provincial boundaries to create ethnic homogenates, demobilized the national armed forces, and suspended the courts and enforcing agencies. The TGE was eventually replaced by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, established by a constitution adopted in 1994. This constitution granted sovereignty to the nations, nationalities, and peoples of Ethiopia and allowed for self-determination, including the right to secession.

Under the current constitution, Ethiopia is a republic with a powerful prime minister as head of government and a titular president as head of state. The legislature consists of a lower chamber called the House of Peoples’ Representatives and an upper chamber called the House of the Federation. Members of the lower chamber are directly elected for a five-year term, while members of the upper chamber can be selected by state councils or directly elected if state councils choose to hold an election. The ruling party in the House of Peoples’ Representatives designates a prime minister and nominates a candidate for the presidency, who is then voted on by both legislative houses. The president serves a six-year term.

Local government

The 1994 constitution established kililoch (regional states) based on ethnic divisions, including Afar, Amhara, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella, Harari, Oromia, Somali, Tigray, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People (SNNP). Additionally, there are two self-governing administrations in the cities of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. Each regional state is led by a president elected by the state council, while the cities are led by a chairman. In a 2019 referendum, the creation of a new kilil for the Sidamo people was strongly supported by voters, resulting in its separation from the SNNP kilil.


The constitution of the country not only sets forth the framework for the government but also ensures the independence and autonomy of the judiciary. At the apex of the federal court system is the Supreme Court, which plays a pivotal role in interpreting the law and upholding the constitution. Alongside the Supreme Court, there exists a High Court and Courts of First Instance that cater to different levels of legal disputes and cases. Moreover, each state within the country operates its own distinct court system, which runs in parallel with the federal judiciary. This decentralized approach to the legal system allows for more localized and efficient administration of justice. The variety of courts at both federal and state levels ensure that legal matters are addressed promptly and judiciously. The separation of powers between the judiciary, legislature, and executive branches is a fundamental principle that safeguards the rule of law and prevents the abuse of power. The judicial branch, headed by the Supreme Court, acts as a check on the other branches of government, ensuring that they act within the limits of the constitution. This system of checks and balances is crucial in maintaining a fair and just society. Overall, the presence of an autonomous judiciary, led by the Supreme Court, ensures that justice is served and the rights of all individuals are protected. The professionalism and dedication of the judiciary play a crucial role in upholding the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

Political process

Ethiopian citizens aged 18 and above have the right to universal suffrage. The government ensures that all nations, nationalities, and peoples have the opportunity to participate in governance, with each group being represented by at least one member in the House of the Federation. Underrepresented minorities are allocated around one-fifth of the seats in the House of Peoples’ Representatives. However, there is still a lack of proportional representation for each group in practice. Women also have a role in the political process, although their representation tends to be inadequate. In the 2000s, women held approximately one-fifth of the seats in both legislative houses. Furthermore, some women have served as cabinet ministers and justices of the Supreme Court.

The ruling party since the establishment of the new republic in 1995 was the EPRDF, a coalition primarily composed of Amhara, Oromo, and Tigray parties. However, in 2019, the party was dissolved and replaced by the Prosperity Party, which included certain Amhara and Oromo groups that were previously part of the EPRDF, along with various smaller regional ethnic-based parties. Other political parties in Ethiopia include the National Movement of Amhara, Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice, and Gedeo People’s Democratic Organization.

brics | ICP

and Cooperation

The Information and Cooperation platform IN4U is a digital hub for BRICS members to collaborate, share information, and promote cooperative initiatives. Stay connected and engaged with the latest developments.


The cooperative

The Cooperative Framework of BRICS by IN4U platform is a dedicated digital space for fostering collaboration and cooperation among inter BRICS government entities and international organizations.

BRICS Collaboration Made Easy: Access info & cooperation tools on IN4U.

This website stores cookies on your computer. Privacy Policy