Yemen's new system of government: a 6-region federation

At the conclusion of Yemen's National Dialogue Conference in January, officials approved the establishment of a federal Yemeni republic composed of several regions. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

At the conclusion of Yemen's National Dialogue Conference in January, officials approved the establishment of a federal Yemeni republic composed of several regions. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

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Yemen's president and main political parties on Monday (February 10th) voted to transform the country into a six-region federation, with two regions in the south and four in the north.

The decision came at the meeting of a committee formed in late January at the end of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) to decide on the number of regions.

The majority of the committee members voted for the establishment of the federation comprising the following six regions: Hadramaut region, including al-Mahrah, Hadramaut, Shabwa and Socotra; Saba region, including al-Jawf, Marib and al-Bayda; Aden region, including Aden, Abyan, Lahij and al-Dali; al-Janad region, including Taiz and Ibb; Azal region, including Saada, Sanaa, Omran and Dhamar; and Tihama region, including al-Hodeidah, Raima, al-Mahwit and Hajjah.

Monday's decision "came after consensus was reached by most committee members and following a review of best standards and models of federal states in the world, and how to divide economic resources, ensure justice and good governance, reduce expenses and fight corruption", said NDC Secretary-General Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, rapporteur of the region determination committee.

"The basic state model has failed in Yemen, whether the two-state model, one in the north and the other in the south, before unification [in 1990], or the state formed by unification," he said.

A federal state is the type of authority that is closest to the people, he said, as it provides four levels of government: federal, regional, on the level of states and on the level of municipal councils.

"This system provides for greater participation of citizens in government," he added.

Each of the six regions will have its own legislative council and a local government that includes the service ministries, while the central government will retain the sovereign ministries, bin Mubarak said.

Each region will have a leading role in economic development in an effort towards a better management of resources and in ensuring equal citizenship rights and duties for all citizens, he added.

The city of Sanaa will have a special status as the capital of the federal state and will not be under the authority of any region. The same applies to the city of Aden, which will have special status as an administrative and economic city within the framework of the Aden region, and will have independent legislative and executive authorities, according to bin Mubarak.

Division criteria

"The federal state is the only way out of Yemen's numerous problems, because the system of regions will create positive competition among the regions and integration that ensures efficient use of the resources of each region," said Abdullah Lamlas of the region determination committee.

Lamlas said the committee considered several criteria in the division process, including the ability of each region to achieve economic stability, geographical connections between the people of provinces within the same region, and social, cultural and historical factors.

Afrah al-Zouba, another committee member, told Al-Shorfa the committee sought to ensure there will be equal rights within each region, "so no province monopolises power to the exclusion of the other provinces in the same region".

To ensure there is true partnership within the legislature of each region and equitable representation of each state in the federal parliament, the committee approved rotating presidencies for legislative councils, she said.

"The revenue generated from the regions' natural and non-natural resources will be distributed among all people [of the federal state] in a transparent and fair manner" after consultation with the regions and states, al-Zouba said.

This will take into account the needs of producing states and regions in particular and allocating a portion of these revenues to the federal state, which will in turn redistribute them among non-producing regions, she added.

The new six-region division will be included in the new constitution, which will be drafted and put to a referendum within a year before presidential and parliamentary elections are held.

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    باسم محمد

    2014-2-26

    No matter how much the Sana’a regime will concede , the Yemeni southern residents have already made their decision and chosen freedom and independence.They don’t seek unity and federalism with primitive, backward and uneducated people who are ignorant of dialogue. The majority of these people are mercenaries. The residents of the South are the reason for dialogue and revolution. We, as the revolutionaries of the South, started our campaign in 2007. Where is the position of the Sana citizens in this revolution? In contrast, the Northerners were beating the unity maker . You are the ones who sacrificed unity and buried it in 1994. Do you still believe that unity is established here? I swear to God that unity is not alive. It is rather dead. Lying is enough; we have had enough of this secrecy and dodging. The Southerners were the first ones who called for unity at the onset of the revolution and they tried to bring the unity into reality. But you are primitive and disorganized people... Be a citizen of South and do not worry. The name of south is at the top. O citizens of the South, be proud, because you deserve to be honourable. May God protect the south and the residents of this region!

  • منار سليمان

    2014-2-25

    Please brothers, try to say only good things. I ask God to protect us from the civil war. The hatred and prejudice in Yemen between the Yemenis is unbearable. There are many problems and corruption, in addition to bribery, theft, beggary, and looting money and oil. This condition does not please any enemy or friend. I ask God to save us from the worst and to make the Yemenis love each other in south and north regions and to help all sects and groups in Yemen to cooperate. Anyone who loves God must ask God to bless us and save our country from all turbulences. We opened our land for the refugees from Somali, Iraq and Syria. We love all Arab states and all what we want from you is to respect our decision in addition to honest supplication if you are really our brothers in race, blood and neighborhood. May God be with us.

  • سليمان الراسى

    2014-2-24

    I believe one day they will be burnt in the fire ignited by themselves. People, whether from the south or the north, are all in trouble and dividing a federal country like Yemen in this way is by no means acceptable, because this division is not acceptable per se. The Yemeni authorities have decided so. Therefore they have to accept the responsibilities for the results of their decision.

  • يوسف هلال

    2014-2-24

    This union that consists of 6 regions in Yemen today is a failed union, it’s just a union of a few regions, to many Yemenis. But I think it will fail miserably, do you know why? Because in that Yemen has become another Iraq, and you can see what situation Iraq is in today. Do you want to create another Iraq in the region? Or is it the imperialist madness that’s brought these black ideas to the Arab countries?

  • إسماعيل بدوي

    2014-2-23

    Today, it is a federation composed of 6 provinces. After some time, those provinces will be divided into smaller ones. Each province will be divided into at least three smaller provinces. Then, chaos will prevail in Yemen. I think that this is the biggest mistake the Yemenis have committed since the inception of the State. It is claimed that the division is aimed to ensure the protection and the security of the Yemenis. In fact, it is aimed to disperse the people of Yemen.

  • بشرى الحربى

    2014-2-23

    With this new zoning, Yemen will face fierce competition among different regions in which every region tries to prove its superiority over other areas. The regions we see today will be very successful in future. We shouldn’t pay any attention to other countries that are categorized in their zoning in this way, because this was the only way for us to succeed.

  • حفيظ أنس

    2014-2-22

    I would like to congratulate the Arabs on the division of Yemen, Sudan and Iraq. The division of Syria is on the way and I will congratulate you for the division of the other Arab countries very soon. Arabs will be divided in favor of Iran because they unfortunately did not realize the Western and Iranian conspiracy against them.

  • شهاب الدين

    2014-2-21

    God bless Yemenis … wisdom and faith are Yemenis … this is not strange for a country whose elders and youth are educated and the small ones learn from them … the stability of Yemen and its union, civilization, development and prosperity are reflected on us, the neighboring countries… Yemen doesn’t need anyone to intervene in its affairs or politics … Let Yemen establish its self on its own by its sons who constructed miracles and filled the universe with their art and cultural heritage …God bless you.

    • الشعيبي

      2014-5-5

      What sort of wisdom is this? Yemen was divided into different states and the wisdom of Yemenis was eliminated. It was then replaced by the (American -Zionist - Gulf) wisdoms. Is the wisdom of yogurt in the blender? One may fit his regional intentions. What is the solution then? We thank God that we reached a good place and there are now only 5 states there.

  • حليم أيمن

    2014-2-21

    The ominous (pessimists) have no place … their pessimism is with them, God willing … Yemen is coming with welfare … I am a southerner … and I do my best effort to make the Yemen federation a stable and orderly state with welfare, God willing …it is not wrong and it is not division as some people dream …the people who cry over the state of the south must realize that the regions are kind of independence, so they must be steadfast and prove the powerful regime of their state … and the northern … and the whisperers from the brothers in ( El Islah) or others who seek certain purposes ( Hutchies) … and all who take their attitude must be ashamed of themselves a little … and everyone must think about his homeland and country and must try to work for the goodness and construction of Yemen … God orders you to construct and seek welfare not to be evil, ominous and pessimistic because pessimism is from the devil.

  • اسما

    2014-2-20

    Never should you surrender your free will to others.

  • محمود خالد احمد الحسني

    2014-2-12

    We want the barrels restored to the state they were in.