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Politics of Ethiopia

In May 1991, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front[?] (EPLF), led by Isaias Afwerki[?], assumed control of Eritrea and established a provisional government. This provisional government independently administered Eritrea until April 23-25, 1993, when Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence in a UN-monitored free and fair referendum. Eritrea was declared independent on April 27, and the U.S. recognized Eritrean independence on April 28.

In Ethiopia, President Meles Zenawi[?] and members of the TGE pledged to oversee the formation of a multi-party democracy. The election for a 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994, and this assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia's first popularly chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995. Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections, ensuring a landslide victory for the EPRDF. International and non-governmental observers concluded that opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so.

The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles has promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically based authorities. Ethiopia today has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions which have the power to raise and spend their own revenues. Under the present government, Ethiopians enjoy greater political participation and freer debate than ever before in their history, although some fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press, are in practice somewhat circumscribed.

Country name:
conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
conventional short form: Ethiopia
local long form: Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik
local short form: Ityop'iya
abbreviation: FDRE

Data code: ET

Government type: federal republic

Capital: Addis Ababa

Administrative divisions: 9 ethnically-based administrative regions (astedader akababiwach, singular - astedader akabibi) and 2 chartered cities*: Addis Ababa*; Afar; Amhara, Benishangul/Gumaz; Dire Dawa*; Gambela; Harar; Oromia; Somali; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region; Tigray

Independence: oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world - at least 2,000 years

National holiday: National Day, May 28 (1991) (defeat of MENGISTU regime)

Constitution: ratified December 1994; effective 22 August 1995

Legal system: currently transitional mix of national and regional courts

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President NEGASSO Gidada (since 22 August 1995)
head of government: Prime Minister MELES Zenawi (since NA August 1995)
cabinet: Council of Ministers as provided for in the December 1994 constitution; ministers are selected by the prime minister and approved by the House of People's Representatives
elections: president elected by the House of People's Representatives for a six-year term; election last held NA June 1995 (next to be held NA May 2001); prime minister designated by the party in power following legislative elections
election results: NEGASSO Gidada elected president; percent of vote by the House of People's Representatives - NA

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Federation or upper chamber (117 seats; members are chosen by state assemblies to serve five-year terms) and the House of People's Representatives or lower chamber (548 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote from single-member districts to serve five-year terms)
elections: regional and national popular elections were held in May and June 1995 (next to be held NA May 2000)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - EPRDF 483, regional political groupings 46, independents 8; note - 11 seats unconfirmed
note: many opposition groups, including the Oromo Liberation Front, boycotted the election

Judicial branch: Federal Supreme Court; the president and vice president of the Federal Supreme Court are recommended by the prime minister and appointed by the House of People's Representatives; for other federal judges, the prime minister submits candidates selected by the Federal Judicial Administrative Council to the House of People's Representatives for appointment

Political parties and leaders: All-Amhara People's Organization or AAPO [Dr. ASRAT Woldeyes]; Coalition of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy or CAFPD [leader NA]; Ethiopian Democratic Union or EDU [leader NA]; Ethiopian Movement for Democracy, Peace, and Unity or EMDPU [GOSHU Walde]; Ethiopian National Democratic Party or ENDP [NEBIYU Samuel, FEKADU Gedamu]; Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front or EPRDF [MELES Zenawi]; Oromo Liberation Front or OLF [GELASA Dilbo]; dozens of small parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: Southern Ethiopia People's Democratic Coalition; numerous small, ethnically based groups have formed since the defeat of the former MENGISTU regime in 1991, including several Islamic militant groups

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador BERHANE Gebre-Christos
chancery: 2134 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 234-2281
FAX: [1] (202) 328-7950

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tibor P. NAGY
embassy: Entoto Street, Addis Ababa
mailing address: P. O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa
telephone: [251] (1) 550666
FAX: [251] (1) 551328

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands; Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, and the colors of her flag were so often adopted by other African countries upon independence that they became known as the pan-African colors

See also : Ethiopia



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