Yemen – Constitutional amendments proposed

Yemen is on the cusp of semi-presidentialism. This is because of the constitutional mechanism for directly electing the president. Leaving aside the political issue of whether any election would be free or fair, Art. 107 includes procedures that potentially restrict the number of candidates. That said, the election is not a plebiscite, because the constitution also states that at least two candidates must stand at the election. Yemen exhibits the other elements of semi-presidentialism required by this blog. So, even though the provisions for the direct election of the president are restrictive, I do tend to class Yemen as being constitutionally semi-presidential.

There is a longer post on this topic here and the 1994 constitution as amended in 2001 is available here.

Anyway, the constitution is likely to be amended in the near future. According to the report here, the amendments will alter the composition of the upper chamber of parliament, the Shura Council, such that it comprises representatives of local councils and presidential nominees. In addition, the electoral system is being reformed so that 44 seats are reserved for women.

Crucially, the amendments also propose a reduction the president’s term from seven years to five years, as well as the abolition of presidential term limits.

The amendments are now being examined in a parliamentary committee. They are due to be passed in March. There will have to be a referendum to approve them. Parliamentary elections, which have already been delayed by two years, are due in April.

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