"YEFEDERESHEIN MEKIR BETE"
HOUSE OF THE FEDERATION OF ETHIOPIA
The Federal Parliament comprises two houses: the House of Peoples'Representatives, and the House of the Federation whose members are representatives of nations, nationalities and peoples all over the country.
The House of the Federation has therefore important specific competencies (see V below) for the functioning of the Federation.
The Constitution was modified in 2002.
I - PARLIAMENTARY COMPOSITION
- 112 elected members.
Each state, nationality or people elect at least one representative to the House of the Federation, plus - for nationalities and peoples - one representative per million inhabitants.
II - FORM OF ELECTION
Form of election: direct or indirect suffrage.
Members are elected either indirectly, by the nine state councils, or directly by the people upon a decision by the state councils.
Term of office: 5 years.
Last re‑elected: 3 and 6 October 2005.
Eligibility: 21 years, Ethiopian citizen, uninterrupted residency in the concerned constituency over five years prior to election.
Incompatibility: members of the House of Peoples' Representatives.
Conditions for election: candidates must be nominated by citizens or political parties and supported by at least 500 electors in the concerned constituency.
III - PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS
A - ORDINARY SESSIONS
The President of the Republic convenes at least two ordinary sessions per year.
The Speaker of the House of the Federation determines the time necessary for each meeting.
B - EXTRAORDINARY SESSIONS
Extraordinary sessions may be convened by the Speaker of the House of the Federation or by a majority of one-half of the members.
C - All sessions are public, save in the case of a majority decision voted by the House of the Federation.
IV - RELATIONS WITH OTHER HOUSE AND EXECUTIVE POWER
A - LEGISLATIVE POWER
The House of the Federation is not vested with a general legislative power.
In this field in particular, its competencies come from the powers it has to ensure the good functioning of the Federation, and it also has at its disposal:
- the faculty to initiate civil laws deemed necessary to establish and strengthen an economic community: these laws are adopted by the House of Peoples' Representatives;
- together with the House of Peoples' Representatives, the exercise of the right to levy and collect taxes which are not provided for under the Constitution may be determined by a vote of two-thirds of both assemblies of the Federal Parliament in a joint session.
B - POWERS OF SCRUTINY
Where necessary, the House of the Federation may set a date, hour and place at which government officials, professionals or other individuals may be invited to provide clarifications, explanations or testimonies.
* * *
The House of the Federation is responsible for appointing select and standing committees.
V - SPECIAL PROVISIONS
A - SPECIFIC COMPETENCIES FOR THE FUNCTIONING OF THE FEDERATION
1) House of the Federation's powers and responsibilities
- Decides all questions concerning right of self-determination of nations, nationalities and peoples , including the right to secession;
- Promotes equality between the peoples of Ethiopia, promotes and consolidates their unity based on their mutual agreement;
- Attempts to broker solutions to conflicts between states ;
- Shares out federal and federate tax revenues, as well as subsidies that are paid to the states by the federal government;
- Authorises federal Government to intervene in any state which violates the Constitution or jeopardises constitutional order.
2) Shared competency concerning Human rights violations
At its own initiative and without the consent of the concerned state, the House of the Peoples' Representatives may convene a joint meeting with the House of the Federation to adopt appropriate measures in the event of human rights violations, and in the case the state should persist in this violation; it may set directives for concerned states to ensure the application of the decisions adopted in joint meeting.
B - SPECIFIC POWERS ON CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES
1) Composition of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry
The Council of Constitutional Inquiry comprises eleven members, three of whom are elected from the House of the Federation, among its members. The Constitutional Council is chaired by the president of the Federal Supreme Court.
2) Interpretation of the Constitution
In the event of disputes concerning the interpretation of constitutional provisions, the Council of Constitutional Inquiry may, if well-founded, submit - with recommendations - the case to the House of the Federation which must decide within thirty days after its transmission.
If the Council thinks there is no place for interpretation, it sends it back to the concerned court. The interested party may then appeal to the House of the Federation.
3) Constitutionality of a law
Whenever the constitutionality of a federal or federate law is contested, the Constitutional Council, referred to by a tribunal or a party, shall examine the dispute and submit it to the House of the Federation for the final decision.
4) Rules and procedures du Constitutional Council
The Council drafts its own rules and procedures and submits them to the House of the Federation for approval.
C - REVISING THE constitution
A proposal of amendment to the Constitution may be presented to the people or any other concerned person to decide about the initiative of the revision procedure, if it is supported by two-thirds of the House of the Peoples' Representatives or the House of the Federation, or by one-third of the state councils, and voted by the majority in each of these councils.
a) Constitutional provisions on rights and liberties, as well as provisions concerning the revision of the Constitution, may be amended by a vote:
- by a simple majority of all the federate parliaments,
- by a two-thirds majority of the House of the Peoples' Representatives, and
- by a two-thirds majority of the House of the Federation.
b) Other articles of the constitution may be amended by a vote:
- of both assemblies of the Federal Parliament in a joint session, by a two‑thirds majority, and
- of parliaments of two-thirds of the member states of the Federation, by a simple majority.
D - ELECTION OF PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
The President of the Republic is elected by a two‑thirds majority of both houses meeting in a joint session.
E - DETERMINING CONSTITUENCIES
The House of the Federation fixes the electoral constituencies on the basis of the results of the national census which is done every 10 years; a proposal is submitted to the House by the national electoral committee.