GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Political Future of Yemen
Paper Proposal Text :
The Future of Yemen
GRM 2014

Political Future of Yemen
Ahmed A. Saif


This paper scrutinises the status of transitional process taking place in Yemen after transferring the power from the ex-president to a new one in February 2012. Nonetheless, the case of Yemen suggests that overthrowing a despotic regime could be relatively easy, but building new democracy to replace it is far harder. In between the long durable authoritarianism and the stability of newly emerging democracy, a grey area of instability, hybrid regimes, and possible chaos exists that may last longer than expected. Democracy promotion takes time; it is full of setbacks, stalemates and possible civil war.

Moreover, concessions by the regimes to demands of protesters for democratic reforms do not necessary have to be the beginning of a transition to democracy, as they also can turn out to be nothing but a ‘transition to nowhere. Authoritarian leaders throughout the region reacted and learned. Some offered the possibility of reforms, and their relative success suggests that monarchies may actually be better situated to adapt with reservoirs of traditional legitimacy that modern pseudo-republics lack. Others chose repression including Qaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria that made repression backfired escalated into civil wars. The growing shortage of legitimacy is dangerous for regimes as some internal or external event could ignite an explosion.

After eleven months of protests, President Ali Abdallah Salih signed the GCC Initiative on November 23, 2011. This deal initiated the beginning of an institutionalized transition process sponsored and supported by the international community. Attention on post-‘Arab Spring’ Yemen has accordingly focused on this transition process, particularly on the negotiations in the framework of the National Dialogue Conference as well as on the self-positioning and strategies of the various political actors in the political power struggle.

After more than two years of social and political insecurity, an elite conflict at the expense of reform visions, and an unknown end to the transition process, its impact on the ways Yemenis organize their economic, social, and political lives can be observed in multiple ways. This has resulted in tangible changes in the social, cultural, economic, and political life of Yemenis that will be as much of a legacy to Yemen’s future as will be the political decisions taken on the national level.

This paper, therefore, will scrutinize and analyse the following questions:
 In how far have the past three years contributed to changes in social and political self organization on the local, regional, and state level?
 How far are these changes likely to influence future practices of governance in Yemen?
 Will Yemen become a federal state?
 How will such regions be selected?
 Will the southern region or part of it become independent or remain within a unified Yemen?
 What would be the implications of such a federal structure for the future of Yemen?
 What powers would be held by the central government and what would be delegated to regions?
 Have political parties changed and developed after the 2011 uprising and how?