1995 Constitution of Ethiopia
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The Constitution of Ethiopia, which is the supreme law of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, was adopted by the Transitional Government of Ethiopia in December 1994 and came into force in August 1995. The constitution was drawn up by the Constituent Assembly elected in June of that year.
The constitution consists of 106 articles in 11 chapters. It provides for a federal government of nine ethnic-based regions governed by a parliament divided into a House of Peoples' Representatives and House of Federation. The constitution expressly provides for a set of basic human rights; Article 13 specifies that these rights and freedoms will be interpreted according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international instruments adopted by Ethiopia. The document further guarantees that all Ethiopian languages will enjoy equal state recognition, although Amharic is specified as the working language of the federal government. Ethiopia has a tradition of highly personal and strongly centralized government, a pattern the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (the coalition presently in government) has followed despite constitutional limits on federal power.
The first elections held under the provisions of the 1995 Constitution were the 2000 general elections; the 1995 general elections were held in May, three months before this constitution came into force.
This constitution remains, as of 2014, the fundamental law of Ethiopia.
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