During the years since independence in 1991, Eritreans have been participating in a process of electing governing councils for their villages, districts, and provinces. Between 1993 and 1997, both the central and local governments underwent a series of reorganizations. In 1996, Eritrea was restructured into six semi-autonomous zones or regions, each consisting of several subzones. The change from 10 provinces to six zones was controversial, but gradually won public acceptance.
Zones are administered by governors and have their own local assemblies. At the central level, the Ministry of Local Governments oversees local affairs, and concerns itself with formulating national policy, regulations, and research and manpower development, leaving implementation responsibilities to regional and local governments.