Afewerki, Isaias, 1945–, Eritrean political leader, president of Eritrea (1993–), b. Asmara. He studied engineering at the Univ. of Addis Ababa, leaving in 1966 to join the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), a group fighting Eritrea's unification (1962) with Ethiopia. In 1970 he co-founded the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), which battled both Ethiopian forces and the ELF; he became EPLF secretary-general in 1987. By 1991 the EPLF had effectively gained control of the province, and Afewerki became secretary-general of a provisional government. In 1993, following a referendum on Eritrean independence, Afewerki was named both president and chairman of the national assembly, positions he has held since; he is also commander in chief of the army. His party, renamed the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), is Eritrea's only recognized party, and promised elections have not been held.
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