Briefing from ROAPE Volume 32 Number 106
Eritrea Opposition Moves Towards Unity
The shifting sands of Eritrean politics are never easy to understand. Eritreans themselves have to work hard to keep up. Foreign observers struggle to make head or tail of the complex alliances and divisions that characterise the Eritrean political scene. An attempt to map out these groups and parties is provided at the end of this article. Having acknowledged these difficulties, however, it seems clear that important changes are under way. In January 2002 the EPLF Democratic Party was born. This was the result of the purge that took place in September the previous year, in which President Isaias Afeworki arrested eleven of his closest associates and closed all independent newspapers (Plaut, 2002). The EPLF-DP has since changed its name to the Eritrean Democratic Party, and is led by Mesfin Hagos, one of President Isaias's few close and critical associates who escaped imprisonment because he was outside of the country (see Conversations with Eritrean Political Prisoners, Red Sea Press, 2005).