Isaias Afewerki
Overview
 
Isaias Afewerki (b. in Asmara
Asmara
Asmara is the capital city and largest settlement in Eritrea, home to a population of around 579,000 people...

, on February 2, 1946) is the first and current President of Eritrea, attaining that status when he led the Eritrean People's Liberation Front
Eritrean People's Liberation Front
The Eritrean People's Liberation Front was an armed organization that fought for the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. It emerged in 1970 as an intellectual left-wing group that split from the Eritrean Liberation Front .-Background:...

 to victory in May 1991, thus ending the 30-year old armed liberation struggle
Eritrean War of Independence
The Eritrean War of Independence was a conflict fought between the Ethiopian government and Eritrean separatists, both before and during the Ethiopian Civil War. The war started when Eritrea’s autonomy within Ethiopia, where troops were already stationed, was unilaterally revoked...

 that the Eritrean people refer to as "Gedli".
Afewerki joined the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in 1966, and the following year he was sent to China to receive more advanced military training.
Encyclopedia
Isaias Afewerki (b. in Asmara
Asmara
Asmara is the capital city and largest settlement in Eritrea, home to a population of around 579,000 people...

, on February 2, 1946) is the first and current President of Eritrea, attaining that status when he led the Eritrean People's Liberation Front
Eritrean People's Liberation Front
The Eritrean People's Liberation Front was an armed organization that fought for the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. It emerged in 1970 as an intellectual left-wing group that split from the Eritrean Liberation Front .-Background:...

 to victory in May 1991, thus ending the 30-year old armed liberation struggle
Eritrean War of Independence
The Eritrean War of Independence was a conflict fought between the Ethiopian government and Eritrean separatists, both before and during the Ethiopian Civil War. The war started when Eritrea’s autonomy within Ethiopia, where troops were already stationed, was unilaterally revoked...

 that the Eritrean people refer to as "Gedli".

Early life and rise to power

Afewerki joined the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in 1966, and the following year he was sent to China to receive more advanced military training. Four years later he was appointed commander in the ELF army. However, citing irreconcilable ideological and tactical differences, he and a small group of combatants separated from the ELF and founded another front called the Eritrean People's Liberation Front
Eritrean People's Liberation Front
The Eritrean People's Liberation Front was an armed organization that fought for the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. It emerged in 1970 as an intellectual left-wing group that split from the Eritrean Liberation Front .-Background:...

 (EPLF). Since survival at the heels of the ELF wasn't easy, the EPLF allied with other two groups that had splintered from the ELF earlier: the PLF1, led by Osman Saleh Sabbe, and another group known as OBEL. In 1976, the EPLF split from Sabbe's group after the latter signed a unity agreement with the ELF (the Khartoum Agreement). Isaias Afewerki served as a leader of the EPLF during the long Eritrean struggle for independence that was crowned with independence after 30 years of armed struggle.

In April 1993, a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

-supervised referendum on independence was held, and the following month Eritrea was declared independent. The EPLF renamed itself the People's Front for Democracy and Justice
People's Front for Democracy and Justice
The People's Front for Democracy and Justice is the current ruling political movement in Eritrea. It is nominally and often considered African socialist and holds itself open to nationalists of any political affiliation. It is the successor to the Eritrean People's Liberation Front...

 (PFDJ) on February 1994 as part of its preparation to usher itself as a political party in a democratic Eritrea. However, due to the fact that Eritrea finds itself on a war footing as a result of the unsettled border conflict with Ethiopia since 1998, the drafted Eritrean Constitution and its implementation are indefinitely put on hold.

After Independence

After Eritrean independence was achieved de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

in 1991 and de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

in 1993 after a referendum, Afewerki became the first head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. During the first years of his administration
in this new state government, the institutions of governance were structured and put in place. This included a top to bottom restructuring of the structures of governance by provision of an elected local judicial system
Community Courts of Eritrea
The Community Courts of Eritrea are the foundation of the judicial system in Eritrea. The courts typically hear cases regarding minor infractions, typically involving sums of less than approximately $7,300 ....

 to expanding the educational system to as many regions as possible.

See also


External links

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