Hadi buys time to reach consensus, number of regions still undecided

Published on 24 December 2013 in News
Yemen Times Staff (author)

Yemen Times Staff

Committee members at Monday night's meeting sign an agreement to defer the decision to another committee.

Committee members at Monday night's meeting sign an agreement to defer the decision to another committee.

SANA’A, Dec. 23 — The National Dialogue Conference (NDC)’s 8+8 Subcommittee failed to reach a consensus on Monday night regarding the number of regions that Yemen’s federal structure will be divided into.  

    The decision will now be deferred to a committee to be created on Wednesday during the general assembly meeting. Interim President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi will have to ask the conference’s 565 delegates to grant him the power to appoint the committee.   

   Despite intensive mediation by both Hadi and U.N. special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, the General People’s Congress (GPC), rejected the proposal to defer the decision.  

   Hadi said the number of regions must be decided before the conference concludes, running the risk of extending the conference into 2014.   

   Although the Socialist Party was not present at the meeting on Monday night due to previous disagreements, it is expected that the party will fall in line with the compromise to appoint an additional committee.         

   Representatives from the Socialist Party had initially wanted the general assembly involved in the decision making process even before the subcommittee failed to reach a consensus.  

  Going into Wednesday’s meeting major political parties are still split 50-50 over the number of regions. The Islah Party, the Nasserites and the GPC all support a six-region system, while the Socialists, the Southern Movement (Hirak) and the Houthis continue to defend a two-region system.

The number of regions was supposed to be the final decision to be made before the general assembly meeting, but now discussions regarding the number of regions will take precedent on Wednesday. The general assembly is also expected to review the Transitional Justice Working Group’s report when it convenes. The Southern Issue and State Building Working Groups’ reports will be delayed until after Yemen’s number of regions is decided.

Other remaining points were largely agreed upon Monday in a background document, which stressed that regardless of how many regions Yemen will be divided into, Yemen is positioned to become a united, federalist country in which most power will allotted to the states, formerly called governorates.

The background document narrates 11 key principles on which the new system will be based, including:

Governmental transparency and accountability

Equal rights for all citizens

Justice for grievances in the South

Regional Cabinets and Parliaments

Regional representation in the federal government and Parliament

Natural resources under local state control in partnership with the federal government

30 percent quota for women in high position of all state institutions

At the meeting, the importance of support from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, the international community, and the U.N. was reiterated. Delegates recognized the need for the international community to help Yemen through its nation-building process.