Yemen Answers Separatist Calls With Federal Solution

Article Summary
Yemen’s General People’s Congress, the party of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, approved a decentralized federal plan in order to maintain the unity of the country, according to Al-Tagheer newspaper. But as activists and politicians have been calling for this federal plan, it has been rejected by the secessionist Southern Movement.

The General People’s Congress (GPC), the party of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, declared its approval of the “federalism” option as a solution to the southern crisis. The southern crisis has been flaring up since March 2007, after popular protests demanded the separation of the country’s north and south, which were united in 1990.

Since December, the Congress and the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) have been allied under the Gulf Initiative Agreement, which granted Saleh a decent departure in exchange for the presidential elections that were held in February.

The Congress’ assistant Secretary-General, Ahmed Obaid Bin Dagher said that: “The central state that was built in 1990 has crumbled, and it will completely collapse. If we agreed that we can remain unified only under a decentralized state, then the shape of the state does not matter anymore.” In an interview with September 26 newspaper, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Defense, Dagher said: “Every form of decentralization in a government is a federal form one way or another. The Congress will support any form of decentralization.”

According to Al-Ittihad newspaper, " Dagher set a condition for the next regime to be committed to Yemen’s unity and it should never cross that line." The newspaper also confirmed that the GPC strongly rejects a federal system for the next regime "between the north and the south" or "between three parts." Al-Ittihad added: "Aside from that, the party is now open to these type of [decentralization] ideas in order to re-establish unity."

Politicians and activists in Yemen are calling for the adoption of a federal system between the five regions to end the separatist protests, which are led by the Southern Movement in the country’s south. However, according to eyewitnesses, hundreds of supporters of the Southern Movement demonstrated on Thursday in the southern city of Ad-Dali to reject the federal option. The protesters were also demanding the south’s "separation” from Yemen. 

Found in: federalism in yemen, ahmed obaid bin daghe, general people’s congress, southern movement, federalism, ali abdullah saleh

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