GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Party and Government: Until 1974 revolution
imperial regime whose last emperor was Haile Selassie I.
Following revolution, a socialist state based on principles
of Marxism-Leninism, led by Workers' Party of Ethiopia.
Constitution promulgated in 1987 created People's Democratic
Republic of Ethiopia. In theory, National Shengo (National
Assembly) highest organ of political power, but real power
centered in hands of Mengistu Haile Mariam, president and
commander in chief of armed forces.
In May 1991, Mengistu regime overthrown by coalition of
forces led by Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic
Front (EPRDF). A National Conference in July 1991 created
Transitional Government of Ethiopia, consisting of a
president and a prime minister, a seventeen-member Council
of Ministers, and an eighty-seven-member Council of
Representatives. Transitional government to last not longer
than two-and-one-half years. Meles Zenawi, former head of
EPRDF, elected president by Council of Representatives. In
mid-1993 new constitution being drafted to come into force
not later than early 1994.
After May 1991, Eritrea controlled by Eritrean People's
Liberation Front (EPLF). EPLF set up Provisional Government
of Eritrea under its leader, Issaias Afwerki. In a
referendum held April 23-25, 1993, more than 98 percent of
registered voters favored independence from Ethiopia. In May
1993, Government of Eritrea was formed, consisting of a
National Assembly with supreme authority, a State Council
with executive powers, and a president. Issaias Afwerki
elected president by National Assembly. New government to
last not longer than four years, during which democratic
constitution is to be written.
Judicial System: As of mid-1993, new judicial
process of being established.
Administrative Divisions: In mid-1991
Government of Ethiopia created twelve autonomous regions on
basis of ethnic identity, plus two multiethnic chartered
cities (Addis Ababa and Harer). Each region broken into
districts (weredas), the basic unit of administration. On
June 21, 1992, elections were held to fill seats on wereda
and regional councils.
Foreign Relations: In late 1980s, Ethiopia
Union, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea),
Israel, and various East European countries for military
assistance and on Western nations for humanitarian aid and
small amounts of economic assistance. After mid-1991,
transitional government reoriented Ethiopia's foreign
relations from East to West, establishing warm relations
with United States and western Europe and seeking
substantial economic aid from Western countries and World
Bank. Ethiopia also active in attempts to mediate the civil
war in Somalia
International Agreements and Memberships:
including Organization of African Unity and United Nations
and a number of its specialized agencies, such as World Bank
and International Monetary Fund.
Data as of 1991