Numerous Yemen National Dialogue Parties Endorse Federalism

Yemeni President Hadi
Photo Credit: The Hindu

Last week, seventeen political parties and civil society organizations participating in Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference (NDC) agreed upon a state structure “on the basis of federalism.” The agreement calls for President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to form a committee to choose between a two-region state, one in the north and one in the south, or a six-region state, four in the north and two in the south.

U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki welcomed “the signing of an agreement outlining the principles of Yemen’s future political structure” and encouraged “all Yemenis to seize this spirit of compromise… to move forward with subsequent steps in the transition process, including constitutional reform and national elections.”

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also “welcome[d] the agreement reached.” The spokesperson for the Secretary-General indicated that the agreement “paves the way for establishing a new unified state, on the basis of federalism and democracy, which upholds human rights, the rule of law, and equal citizenship through the creation of a new state structure and social contract.”

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robertson suggested the agreement “aims to remove obstacles to the closure of the National Dialogue Conference and to express a consensus view of the way forward that meets the aspirations of the Yemeni people.” Robertson also praised the leadership of Yemen’s president and urged all political parties to “continue to engage with President Hadi in good faith.”

The Yemen Times emphasized that the NDC subcommittee charged with resolving the state structure “failed to reach a consensus.” It noted that the General People’s Congress, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party, rejected the proposal to defer the decision. Further, the article suggests that the major political parties are divided on the number of future regions. The Islah Party, Nasserites, and GPC support six regions, while the  Socialists, the Southern Movement (Hiraak), and the Houthis favor two regions.