Selecting Yemeni State’s legitimacy [Archives:2008/1181/Opinion]

August 14 2008

By: Wafaa Abdulfatah Ismail
A constitution under any legal and political system of the state constitutes a necessity required by nature of the contemporary society. It is located on the top of legitimacy's hierarchy. We discuss this subject from the legal viewpoint, as well as read it objectively without deducing political positions.

The political affair will be discussed when the situation needs in order for the meaning of words to be straightforward and help clarify the main objective of reviewing the political and legal context of events and developments throughout history.

Legal edifice the Unity State is based on:

Yemeni Reunification was established in 1990 and based on a rigid legal edifice. This edifice is represented by signing Aden Historical Agreement by which both leaderships of the once two parts of Yemen ratified draft Constitution of the Unity State on Nov. 30, 1989 as a founding authority for the constitution.

This was followed by declaring the Republic of Yemen and organizing the transitional period as signed by both leaderships in Sana'a on April 19 – 22, 1990. Term Eight of the Agreement stipulating placing the agreement into effect as soon as it and draft constitution of the Republic of Yemen are ratified by Shoura Council and National Assembly. A referendum on the constitution was conducted in 1991 with aim of helping people practice democracy in power.

The constitution is thought of as the basis upon the agreement between partners in the Unity State was established after Yemen had two states with each having its own sovereignty, people and territory, plus a legal character that is internationally recognized by the international community. Thanks to people's will, the Yemeni Unity was established on constitutional foundations ensuring all citizens' rights and public freedoms, peaceful transfer of power and political pluralism.

Political events destroyed legal structures:

Yemeni people know that the political crisis that took place between the political forces that have been controlling power in Yemen is what persuaded both conflicting parties to sign the Document of Pledge and Accord in the brotherly Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on Feb. 20, 1994.

Such a document was released to constitute the proper beginning and true approach to building the New Yemen, according to its content. It focused on a system of governance based on administrative and financial decentralization, as well as on a state of law, order and institutions. The document also stipulated that the executive authority should be taken from President of the State.

However, the 1994 Civil War between unity partners caused a notable imbalance in the equation of Yemeni political forces. The war eliminated the southern partner from power and retained the northern partner in power alone, and as a result, this destroyed the legitimate and legal structure on which the Unity State was established. The destruction started by Aden Historical Agreement and went through the Agreement of Declaring Republic of Yemen, organizing the Transitional Period 1990, and violating Constitution of the Republic of Yemen and any subsequent amendments.

In addition, the 1994 Civil War led to an international intervention in Yemen's internal affairs and this intervention was reflected in two resolutions issued by UN Security Council in this regard.

Despite the fact that signing the Document of Pledge and Accord reflected wisdom of Yemenis to resort to their minds at the expense of other considerations, the fact that the document is not applied by the political forces, which remained in power following exist of the southern partner, constituted the clearest evidence of the young state's collapse.