Yemen: Building a Federalist State

Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference, designed to guide the constitution drafting process and hailed as a significant milestone in Yemen’s transition, established a consensus for a decentralized system of governance to address the country’s challenges. In a new report from the Atlantic Council, Rafat Al-Akhali, nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East based in Sana’a, explains how the broadly outlined system could potentially improve public services and government accountability, but warns that the devil lies in its implementation. 

In the new issue brief titled, “The Challenge of Federalism in Yemen,” Al-Akhali writes the that within the six-region model, authorities must carefully delegate and integrate authority to ensure an equitable balance of power. He also argues that the key to a successful transition lies in the seemingly paradoxical balance between strengthening national unity and providing the space to develop regional identity. 

Image: Yemen's Constitutional Drafting Committee working groups draft the first chapter of the new constitution. (Photo: Yemen's NDC website)