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Vol 42 No 4

Published 23rd February 2001


Winter in Asmara

President Issayas is freezing some of his key officials out of politics

For the first time in his political life, President Issayas Aferworki faces serious challenges from his political peers. There is now a substantial group within the ruling People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) that is dissatisfied with his leadership. This results mainly from the war with Ethiopia and from stonewalling on political reform. It has been getting harder for Asmara to dismiss the growing band of critics of Issayas as tools of Ethiopian intelligence and a spate of sackings and resignations at the apex of the regime indicates a new degree of discontent. Outside government, critics are increasingly strident. For now, Issayas will weather the storm: he's set to win any leadership contest and face down any rivals this year. Yet the political climate is growing chillier and the President's options are narrowing.

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