Dutch assessment of Eritrea

This is from the political introduction to the 2017 Dutch country assessment of Eritrea.

The full report is below

Political developments

“Since his appointment in 1993, President Afwerki has been the head of the legislature (the Transitional National Assembly)1 and the executive (the State Council). There is thus no separation of powers. The Constitution, which was ratified in 1997, has still not entered into force. There is no democracy, and presidential and parliamentary elections have been indefinitely postponed.

In this reporting period, President Afwerki and the only political party in Eritrea, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), continued to dominate politics. The president is assisted by a small group of advisers and senior military officers.

Since there is no institutional mechanism for regime change, potential conflicts of loyalty within the PFDJ or the army represent the main threat to the established order. In recent years, several high-ranking military officials have turned their backs on the regime.

An ageing power apparatus – few younger figures are being brought into the ruling elite or the civil service – has lost credibility with young people in the country.

The population’s discontent with the regime, which is exacerbated by a lack of jobs, long military service and food shortages, finds its outlet in a mass exodus abroad. Many of those who have left the country belong to a relatively wealthy class with connections abroad who can pay for and arrange the journey.

The departure of talented young people (the brain drain and the youth drain) means that fewer and fewer people remain to rebuild the country. Because all opponents have by now left the country, no group is left in Eritrea to serve as a sounding-board for the established order.”

Eritrea Dutch Report 2017

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