Ethnicity, Federalism and Development: Constitutional Solutions for Ethiopia?
9 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2012
Date Written: May 15, 1996
In 1994, Ethiopia adopted a new Constitution, thus establishing the 'Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia'. This latest branch to the large world-wide family of federal states has received much attention and criticism since, criticism both on the underlying political system and on specific features of the new Constitution. These features will be focused on in this paper. The authors of the present paper specialize in constitutional law. They will therefore focus their attention on constitutional anomalies in the present Ethiopian federal system. This paper is therefore written from a mere constitutional point of view, disregarding daily politics. Point of departure of the discussion is the unofficial English translation of the text of the Constitution of 1994 as provided by the Ethiopian Consulate in The Hague. Hardly any other legal text or general information on the Ethiopian legal system was available. It also has to be notes that the authors are of Dutch (and therefore Western European) origin. They are aware of the existence of clear differences between the structures of Western European and African society. Still, they want to make some critical remarks to the Ethiopian constitution from a point of view from the outside.
Keywords: Ethiopia, constitution, federalism, development, ethnicity
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