Houthi Rebels seize control of government
Houthi rebels have finally taken over the government of Yemen. They have dissolved parliament (as of yesterday) and put in place a Presidential Council to run the country. Through an announcement on state television the rebels also announced that they would be forming a 551 member National Council to replace the parliament.
The announcement is, in effect, a coup d’etat. The Houthi rebels, a minority Shia group from the north of the country took over the capital Sana’a last September and have been tightening their grip ever since. However, they are likely to be rejected by the majority Sunni tribes especially in the south and central parts of the country where al-Qaeda is also most active.
Many Yemenis will welcome a degree of stability in the short term, but the likelihood is that fighting between different factions against the Houthi is now likely to intensify and might possibly lead to the breakup of the country once more. Saudi Arabia will be especially worried about the takeover of the government by a group they consider is being controlled by Iran.
The Yemen News Agency (SABA) has published the following statement from the Revolutionary Committee:
“Revolutionary Committee issues Constitutional Declaration organizing governance rules during Yemen transitional period
SANA’A, Feb. 06 (Saba) – The Revolutionary Committee of the 21st Revolution issued on Friday in Sana’a the following Constitutional Declaration as set forth in the following articles:
Article No. (1): Provisions of the applicable Constitution will remain valid unless they contradict with the provision of this Declaration.
Article No. (2): This Declaration organizes governance rules during the transitional period.
Article No. (3): Public rights and freedoms are guaranteed and the state is committed to protect them.
Article No. (4): The state foreign policy is based on commitment to good neighboring and non-interference in internal affairs of the state, in addition to approving peaceful and sound means to solve disputes, and cooperation to realize joint interests in a way preserving the state sovereignty, independence, security and the supreme interests.
Article No. (5): The Revolutionary Committee is the representative of the Revolution and from which the revolutionary committees branch in the governorates and districts across the country.
The Transitional National Council
Article No. (6): Based on a resolution by the Revolutionary Committee, a Transitional National Council shall be formed consisting of 551 members to replace the dissolved parliament, and to include components not represented in it. Members of the dissolved parliaments are entitled to join the Council.
Article No. (7): The internal bylaw of the Transitional National Council shall define its work system and rights and duties of the members.
Article No. (8): Presidency of the Republic during the transitional period will be assigned to a Presidential Council of 5 members to be selected by the Transitional National Council and to be approved by the Revolutionary Committee.
Article No. (9): The internal bylaw of the Presidential Council shall define its work system and rights and duties of the members.
The Transitional Government
Article No. (10): The Presidential Council assigns any of the Transitional National Council members or from outside it to form a transitional government of national competencies.
Article No. (11): The Revolutionary Committee is tasked with taking all the necessary procedures and measures to protect the state sovereignty, insure its security and stability and protect people rights and freedoms.
Article No. (12): Specializations of the Transitional National Council, Presidential Council and the government are to be specified by a complementary resolution to be issued by the Revolutionary Committee.
Article No. (13): Authorities of the transitional state shall commit during a period of two years to work to achieve requirements of the transitional period according to outcomes of the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement, including the revision of the new constitution draft, issuing laws required by the foundation phase and holding a referendum on the constitution in order to move forward to the permanent situation as well as carrying out the parliamentary and presidential elections according to its provisions.
Article No. (14): The normal legislations shall continue to be valid unless they explicitly or implicitly contradict with texts of this Declaration.
Article No. (15): This Declaration is effective from the date of its issuance.
Issued at the Republican Palace in Sana’a on 06 February 2015.”