Eritrea Government and Politics

In February 1990, the EPLF conquered the port city of Massawa and then almost the entire Eritrean area. The rebels captured Asmara and the day after the port city of Aseb. The road between Aseb and Adis-Ababa is the only supply route via land to the Ethiopian capital.

Eritrea Country Flag

The EPLF declared at the end of May that it would establish a provisional government and in July it agreed in the Ethiopian capital to hold a referendum under UN monitoring within two years.

Asmara and Adis-Ababa agreed to normalize relations between the two countries. The Red Sea ports were reopened to receive foreign aid. That same year, the rain began to fall again in Eritrea, marking the end of 2 years of drought.

In the referendum held in April 1993, 99.8% voted for independence. The EPLF formed a provisional government tasked with drafting a new constitution within a 4-year timeframe and then printing new elections where several parties had the opportunity to stand; the government was led by Issaias Afwerki. That same year, Eritrea was admitted to the UN.

In February 1994, the EPLF held its 3rd party congress, which transformed the organization into a political party under the name of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, FPDJ. Eritrea joined the IMF that same year.

The disruption of diplomatic relations with Sudan in December 1994 made it difficult to repatriate the 500,000 refugees. Issaias declared in October 1995 that his regime would supply weapons to any group prepared to overthrow the Khartoum regime.

In 1996, the planned distribution of land to foreign investors was delayed by real estate discussions. Government restrictions on the establishment of political parties and restrictions on freedom of expression continued.

History and Politics

First people in Eritrea

Even in pre-Christian times people lived in the area of ​​what is now the state of Eritrea. Little is known about this time.

Aksumite Empire

The present-day area of ​​Eritrea belonged to the Aksumite Empire from around the 1st century AD. The residents turned to Christianity early on, in the form of Coptic Christianity, which was declared the state religion. Afterwards they bowed to the Amharen, who followed Christianity, but fought against the kings of Aksum.

The Ottomans

In the 16th century, it was mainly the Ottomans who settled on the Eritrean coast. They conquered the country and made it an Ottoman province. Again and again there were disputes and fights over the region: Ethiopians, Turks and Egyptians wanted to have them for themselves.

Italian East Africa

In the end, the Italians settled Eritrea as a colony. Together with the neighboring states of Ethiopia and Somaliland, this belonged to Italian East Africa. Even today, many buildings, especially in the capital Asmara, bear witness to this time.

Ethiopia and Eritrea

After the Second World War – the Italians were on the losing side – the country first came to Great Britain and finally to the United Nations. The United Nations logo is still part of the flag of Eritrea today. But the UN planned to make Ethiopia and Eritrea a common state.

This resulted in a federation of the two states at times, but this was never wanted by Eritrea. A freedom movement called ELM (Eritrean Liberation Movement) and another more Islamic movement called ELF (Eritrean Liberation Front) formed. This was based in Cairo, i.e. in Egypt.

From 1962 onwards, a war broke out between the two states that lasted 30 years and almost completely destroyed both countries, uprooted people and ruined the economy.

Eritrean independence

It wasn’t until 1993 that Eritrea became an independent state. Asmara was declared the capital. A constitution was passed and the country became a presidential republic. Isaias Afewerki became president. However, no elections have taken place in the country since he took office. There is only one party, the PFDJ (People’s Front for Democracy and Justice). The head of state has extensive powers and rules dictatorially. In addition to the poor economic situation, this is one of the reasons why many Eritreans have fled their country.

1998 to 2000 there was another dispute with Ethiopia. You couldn’t agree on the border. The border war ended with an armistice, but the peace is fragile to this day.

Eritrea Head of Government

You may also like...