People's Front for Democracy and Justice

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People's Front for Democracy and Justice
Chairperson Isaias Afewerki
Secretary Al-Amin Mohammed Seid
Spokesperson Yemane Gebreab
Founded 1994 (1994)
Preceded by Eritrean People's Liberation Front
Headquarters Asmara, Zoba Maekel, Eritrea
Newspaper Shabait
Youth wing Young People's Front for Democracy and Justice
Ideology Eritrean nationalism,[1]
Big tent,[1]
Secularism[2]
Politics of Eritrea
Political parties
Elections
Emblem of Eritrea (or argent azur).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Eritrea

The People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) (Tigrinya: ህዝባዊ ግንባር ንደሞክራስን ፍትሕን, Həzbawi Gənbar nəDämokrasən Fətəḥən, abbreviated ህግደፍ?, Arabic: الجبهة الشعبية للديمقراطية والعدالةAl-Jabhat Al-Sha'abiyah Lil-Dimuqratiyah Wal-'Idalah) is the current ruling political movement in Eritrea. Successor to the formerly Marxist-Leninist and African socialist Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), the PFDJ holds itself open to nationalists of any political affiliation.[3]

Creation[edit]

Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), later (from 1994) People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, secessionist movement that successfully fought for the creation of an independent Eritrean nation out of the northernmost province of Ethiopia in 1993.

The historical region of Eritrea had joined Ethiopia as an autonomous unit in 1952. The Eritrean Liberation Movement was founded in 1958 and was succeeded by the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in 1961. The ELF grew in membership when the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie abolished Eritrea’s autonomous status, annexing it as a province in 1962. In the 1960s and ’70s the ELF undertook a systematic campaign of guerrilla warfare against the Ethiopian government. A faction of the ELF broke away in 1970 to form the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. The EPLF managed to secure control of much of the Eritrean countryside and build effective administrations in the areas it controlled. Fighting that broke out between the EPLF, ELF, and other Eritrean rebel groups in 1981 prevented further military gains, but the EPLF subsequently emerged as the principal Eritrean guerrilla group.

As Soviet support of Ethiopia’s socialist government collapsed in the late 1980s, the EPLF formed an alliance with guerrilla groups in Tigray province and other parts of Ethiopia, and, when these groups overthrew the central government and captured the Ethiopian capital in May 1991, the EPLF formed a separate provisional government for Eritrea. After the holding of a United Nations-supervised referendum on independence there in April 1993, the EPLF declared the new nation of Eritrea the following month. In February 1994 the EPLF renamed itself the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice as part of its transformation into Eritrea’s ruling political party.[4]

Following a United Nations-supervised referendum on independence in April 1993, the EPLF, which liberated Eritrea and was pivotal in overthrowing the government of Ethiopia, declared the new nation of Eritrea the following month. In February 1994 the EPLF renamed itself the People's Front for Democracy and Justice as part of its transformation into Eritrea's ruling political movement.[4]

The leader of the PFDJ party and current President of Eritrea is Isaias Afewerki.

Status[edit]

Currently the People's Front for Democracy and Justice is the sole legal party in Eritrea.[5]

There is some debate as to whether PFDJ is a true political party or whether it is a broad governing association in transition. Eritrean National elections were set for 1995 and then postponed until 2001; it was then decided that because 20% of Eritrea's land was under occupation, elections would be postponed until the resolution of the conflict with Ethiopia. However, local elections continued in Eritrea. The most recent round of local government elections were held in May 2004.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b O'Kane, David; Hepner, Tricia (2011), Biopolitics, Militarism, and Development: Eritrea in the Twenty-First Century, Berghahn Books, p. xx, retrieved 15 January 2011 
  2. ^ Joireman, Sandra Fullerton (2003), Nationalism and Political Identity, Continuum, p. 133, retrieved 15 January 2011 
  3. ^ Markakis, John (March 1995). "Eritrea's National Charter". Review of African Political Economy 22 (63): 126–129. doi:10.1080/03056249508704109. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  4. ^ a b "Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF)". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Britannica. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Eritrea". Africa Review. Africa Review. Retrieved 12 December 2012.