The Impact of Asymmetrical Representation of Federated Units in the Ethiopian Federation on Decision Making Process: Case Study of House of Federation

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Addis Ababa University


Fair and proper representation of federated units especially the minorities in the central institution is the tradition of federations. The second chamber is one institution which federated units are represented and participated in decision making process at the center. Most federations give equal representation to all member states in the second house irrespective of population number to protect the minorities from the domination of larger units. While others use population number as a major criterion, still some others, though they use population number as a criteria they gives weighty advantage to less populous regions to protect their interests. Unlike others, in Ethiopian federation the second chamber is composed of nation, nationality and peoples. The states are indirectly represented by the nation, nationalities and peoples they hosts. This system creates a wide gap in winning of seats among member states as the number of population and diversity of the region is considerably differ from each other. as a result, since all decision of the house is passed by simple majority vote, it pave the way that strongly represented regions control all decisions of the House in their interest at the cost of smaller regions. In view of that, the paper assess the impact of these system of representation practiced in the House of Federation in the decision making processes particularly on the determination of formulas in the allocation of subsidies to regions. For examination of this study qualitative method was employed with multiple data collection tools like, document analysis and interview with concerned government officials at the federal and regional governments. Purposeful sampling techniques are applied to select the respondents. The investigation suggests that, the representation set up has an impact on regions with small number of representative in the HoF on the decision making process of subsidy allocation formula because of their marginal number of seats. Though the HoF represents all federated units, most seats of the House are constituted by some more populous and diversified regions and the minorities are not in a position to influence the decisions and safeguard their interests and their representations are nominal just to notify their concerns not to really participate and influence in the decisions of the House. Thus, the findings recommend that, the minority should gain adequate power on decision making process of the House to protect themselves from majoritarian decision



Impact of Asymmetrical Representation