Bacha Debele about Amhara Special Force Assessing the Constitutional interpretation underway in light of this doctrine requires to highlight on the foundational Ethos of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a nation of nations built on the fundamental right to self-determination that encompasses self-rule and shared-rule. And hence, sovereignty resides with the people, nations and nationalities – Art. 8.
In accordance with this provision, the only constitutional way of amendment to articles under discussion – Art. 54 (1), Art. 58 (3) and Art. 93 – is only if it passes through the two-level approval test. First, approval of the proposed amendment by two-thirds of the Councils of the member States of the Federation by majority vote. That is, the proposed amendment must get approval with majority vote at least by two-thirds of the nine – i.e., 6 – Councils of member States of the Federation. Second, a joint session of the House of Peoples’ Representatives and House of Federation, must approve the proposal with a two-third majority vote. An amendment or any form of change that fails to follow the stipulated procedural requirement, is deemed unconstitutional.
In the case at hand, the provisions for which interpretation is requested by the House of Peoples’ Representative (HPR) – Art. 54 (1), Art. 58 (3) and Art. 93 – as shown in the preceding arguments, do not merit interpretation. Or lack a legitimate ground to do so. Hence, an interpretation that will be given absent justifiable grounds amounts to constitutional amendment by effect rather than interpretation. Consequently, resulting in the unconstitutionality of the interpretation. Mainly because amendment follows a particular constitutional procedure stipulated under Art. 105 of the FDRE Constitution.
Beyond the textual and contextual interpretations of constitutional provisions, paying attention to the likely pragmatic effect of such interpretation is quintessential. Measuring and assessing the practical effect of an interpretation requires balancing the probable practical outcome of one interpretation against other alternatives
We hold an opinion that the Council of Constitutional Inquiry and the House of Federation should conduct a serious and deep reading of Article 60 of the FDRE Constitution cumulatively with the major turn of political events overs the past few months since the dissolution of the EPRDF and its substitution by the Prosperity Party. This will reveal the intention of the drafters of the Constitution, which we believe would hint towards the possibility of a hybrid (constitutional and political) solution towards resolving the current gridlock on the national election. The Council of Constitutional Inquiry should take its interpretive role seriously and remand the request back to the House of Peoples’ Representative to require the President or the Prime Minister of the FDRE reconsider an inclusive multiparty agreement on how to reconstitute a coalition government under Art. 60(2) and co-conduct post-COVID19 elections, a national political task which seems to be definitely compatible with the intended pattern of the Constitution under Art. 60.