Yemen’s Houthis Reject Draft Constitution

Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi. Photo Credit: Middle East Eye

On Monday, Yemen’s Houthi opposition movement “categorically” rejected the new draft constitution that would divide Yemen into six federal states. The draft reflects the proposed federalist structure that was agreed-upon during last February’s transition meetings, which the movement had opposed from the outset.  Ali al-Gohoum, spokesman for the organization, stated that they rejected “the new constitution because it legislated dividing the country into six regions… [and] was approved without in-depth studies. Now, we propose forming a committee of experienced people to examine what kind of federalism suits Yemen.” On Wednesday, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi hailed the new constitution draft as “a great victory” that “will give each region the power to distribute its wealth and power among their residents fairly.”

Sami Ghaleb says that the Houthi movement “did not mind splitting the country into two regions since it will keep the north united and under their command. Also, the southern region will be controlled by them since the capital of the federal state is in Sana’a, which is under their control.” Ghaleb foresees an opportunity for compromise should the Houthis be offered more authority in other provinces and in the capital of Sana’a by the Hadi government.

In other news, Sana’a saw continued violence when a car bomb exploded near a police college and killed at least 38 people. The State Department condemned the attack and reiterated its support for the Yemeni government “to counter the shared threat posed by terrorists.”