Note: This is the standard English translation found in
"Sourcebook of Ethiopian Constitutional Law" p. 2-24... the Amharic text is the
Official and binding version) [From CHAPTER I - THE ETHIOPIAN EMPIRE AND THE SUCCESSION
TO THE THRONE.]
The Imperial Dignity shall remain perpetually attached
to the line of Haile Sellassie I, descendant of King Sahle Sellassie, whose
line descends without interruption from the dynasty of Menelik I, son of the
Queen of Ethiopia, the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon of Jerusalem.
The succession to the Throne and Crown of the Empire by
the descendants of the Emperor and the exercise of the powers of Regency shall
be determined as hereinafter provided.
The order of succession shall be lineal, and only male,
born in lawful wedlock, may succeed male; the nearest line shall pass before
the more remote, and the elder in the line before the younger. In conformity
with the provisions of this Article and the following Articles 6-16, a special
law shall determine the order of, and the qualifications for the succession.
Among those entitled to the succession shall be reckoned
also the son unborn, who shall immediately take his place in the line of succession
the moment he is born into the world.
In the event that, at the time of His succession to the
Throne and Crown, the Emperor shall have attained the age of eighteen years,
He shall, on the day determined by Him, but in any event not later than one
year after His succession to the Crown, be anointed and crowned as Emperor,
the provisions and details of the Coronation being determined in the Coronation
Ceremonial of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church of 2nd November, 1930.
Regency shall exist in the event that the Emperor is unable
to exercise the Imperial Office, whether by reason of minority, absence from
the Empire, or by reason of serious illness as determined by the Crown Council.
In such cases, the Regency shall exercise, in the name of the Emperor, all the
powers and prerogatives of the Crown, except that the Regency shall have no
power to grant the title of Prince, and shall have caretaker powers only as
regards the properties of the Crown and of the Emperor. Regency shall automatically
terminate upon the cessation, as regards the Emperor, of the conditions having
given rise to the Regency, in accordance with the provisions of the present
article. Regency shall be exercised, respectively, in the situations as provided
for in Articles 9 and 11, by the person or by the Council, as provided for in
Articles 10 and 11.
In the event that the Emperor, or in the event that the
Crown Prince or the Heir Presumptive, in the situations provided for in Article
11, shall not have attained the age of eighteen years, the Regency shall be
exercised by the Council of Regency as provided for in Article 11.
The Council of Regency shall consist of the Empress Mother,
the two descendants of the line of Sahle Sellassie most nearly related to the
Emperor, as determined by the Crown Council, having reached the age of eighteen
and being of sound mind, the Archbishop, the Prime Minister, the President of
the Senate and the President of the Chamber of Deputies. The President of the
Council of Regency shall be the Empress Mother, or, in Her absence, the Prime
Minister. No decisions of the Council of Regency shall be taken except by a
majority vote of two-thirds of the members thereof.
Regency shall be exercised by the Crown Prince or the
Heir Presumptive, as the case may be, in the case of serious illness, or the
absence of the Emperor from th Empire. However, in the event that the Crown
Prince or the Heir Presumptive, as the case may be, himself shall be subject
to serious illness, or shall be absent from the Empire or shall not have attained
his eighteenth year, the Regency shall be exercised by the Council of Regency,
which shall automatically relinquish its functions to the Crown Prince or the
Heir Presumptive, as the case may be, upon cessation of any such disability
of the Crown Prince or the Heir Presumptive, as the case may be. Serious illness
of the Crown Prince or the Heir Presumptive, as the case may be, shall be determined
by the Crown Council.
Upon the birth of the Crown Prince, the Emperor shall
designate the members of the Council of Guardianship to be convened and to assume
its responsibilities only in the event of a Regency. The mother of the Crown
Prince shall be ex-officio a member of such Council. The Council of Guardianship
shall receive in trust for the Crown Prince one-third of the annual income and
revenues received by the predecessor of the Crown Prince who has become Emperor,
in conformity with the provisions of Article 19 (c).
(a) In the event that the Emperor shall, at any time,
have no male descendant, or no male descendant capable of meeting the requirements
for succession to the Throne, He shall, after having previously consulted the
Crown Council, publicly designate as Heir Presumptive from amongst His nearest
male relatives, a direct descendant of Sahle Sellassie, meeting the requirements
for succession to the Throne.
(b) The determinations as to the qualifications for succession
shall be made by the Emperor, after having previously consulted the Crown Council.
(c) In case of a determination that a male descendant is incapable
of meeting the requirements for succession, such determination shall operate
to exclude such male descendant in favour of the next male descendant, or, in
favour of the Heir Presumptive. The designation of an Heir Presumptive shall
become inoperative upon the subsequent birth of a male descendant.
(d) In the case of the minority of the Emperor, the designation
of an Heir Presumptive shall, in accordance with the provisions of the present
article, be effected by the Council of Regency. However, at the time of His
coronation, and at any time thereafter, the Emperor shall be free to designate,
in accordance with the provisions of the present Article, another Heir Presumptive
in replacement of the Heir Presumptive designated by the Council of Regency,
or previously, by Himself.
Any member of the Imperial Family, who, being eligible
for the succession, marries a foreigner or who marries without the consent of
the Emperor, of the Regent, or of the Council of Regency, as the case may be,
shall forfeit all Imperial prerogatives for himself and his descendants.
The Imperial Family shall include all direct lineal ascendants
and descendants, together with their spouses, of the Emperor, with the exception
of those who have not complied with the provisions of Article 15 or who are
not of the Ethiopian Orthodox Faith.
Upon the death of the Emperor, there shall be a period
of full national mourning of three months, followed by a period of half mourning
of six months, and upon the death of the Empress, there shall be a period of
full national mourning of two months, followed by a period of half mourning
for four months. The Emperor shall proclaim lesser periods of full and half
national mourning upon the deaths of other members of the Imperial Family, except
that no period of national mourning may cause to be postponed a coronation more
than one year from the date of the succession to the Crown of the Emperor or
of His attaining the age of eighteen. In the event that the coronation takes
place during a period of full or half mourning, such period of mourning shall
be terminated seven days before the coronation. [ARTICLES 20-25 contain the
oaths of loyalty to be administered to the Council of Regency, the Emperor being
coronated, the Crown Council and Parliament, and the Crown Prince or Heir Presumptive.]
ARTICLE 70. (In Chapter IV)
The Emperor may, in such instances as He deems appropriate,
convene the Crown Council, which shall consist of the Archbishop, such Princes,
Ministers, and Dignitaries as may be designated by Him, and the President of
the Senate. The Crown Council shall be presided over by the Emperor or by a
member designated by Him. [The following articles are also significant to the
By virtue of His Imperial Blood, as well as by the anointing
which He has received, the person of the Emperor is sacred, His dignity is inviolable
and His power indisputable. He is, consequently, entitled to all the honours
due to Him in accordance with tradition and the present Constitution. Any one
so bold as to seek to injure the honour of the Emperor will be punished.
The present revised Constituion, together with those international
treaties, conventions and obligations to which Ethiopia shall be party, shall
be the supreme law of the Empire, and all future legislation, decrees, orders,
judgements, decisions and acts inconsistent therewith, shall be null and void.
ARTICLE 131 [final Article]
The Constitution may be amended by an identic Joint Resolution
adopted by three-fourths of the members of each Chamber in two separate sessions
of Parliament and proclaimed with the approval and authority of the Emperor.
Given at Addis Ababa, this fourth day of November, 1955