The conference was delayed after factions in the Southern Movement, which has campaigned for autonomy or secession for the formerly independent south, refused to join the talks….The Common Forum parties, which represented the opposition under Saleh and control half of the current government, announced on Tuesday that they will take part in the dialogue.
The Shiite Huthi rebels, who fought the government of Saleh for many years in the north, also said they will participate in the forum. The position of some southern groups remains vague, but former vice president Ali Salem al-Beidh, who was the president of South Yemen, and who has demanded a full secession from the north, insists on shunning the talks.
A day after Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman described Yemen’s transition as “on the brink of collapse,” Hadi said the conference, which should kick-start a process to draft a new constitution and electoral law for polls in 2014, as a “strategic and historic opportunity… to achieve a civic and modern state.”
While the country’s politicians have been dragging their feet, Yemeni civil society has grown increasingly vibrant, writes Gabool Al-Mutawakel (above), co-founder of the Youth Leadership Development Foundation.
“Positive civil and political youth activism has been the most rewarding result of the Yemeni uprising of 2011,” she writes for Common Ground. “Individual activism, youth initiatives and the participation of youth in new political parties have introduced fresh approaches and perspectives to Yemen’s civil and political arenas.”
For example, in 2012 the Al-Watan Party (the Homeland Party) was co-founded by youth business leaders, development practitioners and professionals, many of whom had never previously engaged in politics. Its doctrine is that of a moderate and civil party based on individual initiative and social responsibility. ……
Another example is the Erada Foundation for a Qat-Free Yemen, established in early 2012 by Hind Eleryani, a journalist for NOW Arabic, Beirut, and carried forward by Nasser Alshama’a, an activist and the executive manager of Erada Foundation. Qat is a leaf that most of Yemenis chew for 4-6 hours daily. While chewing qat, people usually feel energetic. However, withdrawal symptoms make users lethargic and less productive. This affects the economic and social life of Yemenis. The emerging NGO’s pilot campaign was “One Day without Qat,” which has now happened twice and received a highly positive response from Yemenis and the media.