SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A key Yemeni panel tasked with devising a new system to address the local grievances that have fed the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation's instability agreed Monday to transform the country into a state of six regions.
But the system of federalism chosen by the panel, to have six regions rather than two, is opposed by southerners who feel dominated by the more populous north.
The decision comes at the end of two weeks of talks by delegates from across the country on a new political map to end decades of centralization that fed internal conflicts in the north and south. The federalism plan will be included in the new constitution, to be put to a referendum.
The panel led by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi announced its decision that there will be two regions in the south — Aden and Hadramawt — and four in the north — Saba, Jenad, Tihama and Azal. Sanaa, the capital, will not be affiliated to a region, while Aden, the largest city in the south, will have special status giving it more power than the province in which it is located.
The plan is opposed by many politicians in southern Yemen, once an independent state, who have demanded that there be only two regions. Four provinces in the north would have more power than only two in the south, they say.