Yemen to become six-region federation

A presidential panel agrees on creating a 'federal state of six regions' as part of its political transition

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Yemen will be transformed into a six-region federation as part of its political transition, a presidential panel agreed on Monday.

“The final approval” on creating a “federal state of six regions” came at a meeting of the committee, headed by President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi and including representatives of Yemen’s main parties, state news agency Saba announced.

Infographic: Yemen's new regions

Infographic: Yemen's new regions
Infographic: Yemen's new regions

Hadi formed the committee in late January at the end of a national dialogue aimed at deciding on the number of regions for the country, and to write it into the text of a new constitution, to be drafted and voted on within a year, according to Agence France-Presse.

Divided parties

Yemen’s parties had been divided on whether to split the future federation into two or six regions, while Sanaa was concerned that a straight north-south divide could set the stage for the disgruntled south to secede – as it had attempted to do four years four years after joining the south in 1990.

The six designated regions include four in the north, comprising Azal, Saba, Janad and Tahama, and two in the south, Aden and Hadramawt.

Azal includes the capital Sanaa, in addition to the several stronghold provinces of Shiite rebels.

The port city of Aden would comprise the capital of the former south, as well as Abyan, Lahej and Daleh, Saba reported.

Neutral city

The guarantee the neutrality of Sanaa, the city will be federal and “not subject to any regional authority,” the panel decided, agreeing that special clauses will be put in the draft constitution.

Aden will also have special “independent legislative and executive powers” to be stipulated in the constitution.

By decentralizing power, Yemen’s government aims to meet the south’s demands for autonomy.

Yemen’s national dialogue was stipulated by a U.N.-backed roadmap that ended a year of protests against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s rule, who resigned in 2012 after over three decades in power.

Since Saleh’s resignation, Yemen’s leaders have been unable to agree on a way forward for the impoverished country, which is battling with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula attacks on security forces and unrest between Shiite and Sunni militants.

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