Federation and Confederation

By Fesseha Nair

I have been following the discussions on “ Federation and Confederation “of the EPDJ led by the self-appointed Eritrean president and its followers in diaspora Eritrea. Before dwelling to the why and how would like what these two methods or systems mean, and the organizing principles and institutions.

What is Federation ? Federation is a system of divided powers where a central government and territorial units ( known as provinces, regions, states or cantons) each have different policy responsibilities.

What is a Confederation ? A confederation is a union of equal , sovereign states ( each recognized by the international community) that have formed, for limited general purposes, a common government. A confederation a treaty based/ based on the peoples will/ union that concedes few powers to the Centre for the sake of liberty of the constituent units which are in principle free to secede. Do Essyas of Eritrea and Abiyu of Ethiopia abide by the principles of this two systems, or it is a cover to cheat the people by stating some systems they don’t believe and practice.

A federation has a constitution, which presupposes the permanency of the union designed both to secure individual rights and divide power- the purpose being to reconcile unit self-government and individual freedom. Why is the PFDJ at this time calling for federation or confederation with Ethiopia while it is carrying wars in Ethiopia and inside Eritrea ? Admitting their failure in national economics is their failure in leading the country politically, economically and socially, does the call for federation and confederation with Ethiopia solve the problem inside Eritrea ? The Eritrean political elite and professionals must make aware the people that any system must be decided by the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The difference is clear in the legislative institutions of both types of union, but Eritrea has no legislative and executive institutions and Ethiopia led by Abiyu has already dismantled the legislative and executive institutions in Ethiopia and is in war with all people in Ethiopia. Before federation and confederation the two countries must transfer the power to the people.

Confedration is defined as a union of states, whilst a federation is a union of states and community of individuals. Given the need to respect state equality and sovereignty decision on these two systems are not taken by one man rule in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. Any change is based on the consent of the people not by leaders who oppress their citizens and incite hate politics and warmongers.

If the followers of the HGDF/ EPDJ really want remedy the economic failure in Eritrea they must first assess 30 year policies of the dictatorship in Eritrea and react strongly that the leadership of Essayas must be removed and then a leadership elected by the people can take the responsibility of how to cooperate locally, regionally and globally based on the principles of federation and confederation.

Yes, to federalism and confederalism but not at this time suffering under a one- man dictatorship in Eritrea and Ethiopia both the two leaders with their conspiracies must be removed and the Eritrean and Ethiopian people must respect the equality and sovereignty of each country.( Eritrea and Ethiopia)


1. Riker, William H. Federalism; Origins, Operation and significance.

2. Stepan, Alfred. “ Federalism and Democracy.

3. Dahl, Robert A. How Democratic is the American Constitution? New Haven Yale University Press, 2001.

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Posted by on Apr 25 2021 Filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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