Friday, October 11, 2013

Yemen Changes everything... and nothing

"Yemen is not new to periods of political opening and closure.19 Unification in 1990 ushered in a short period of genuine liberalization and political competition that was quickly closed by the 1994 civil war, when President Saleh was able to marginalize political competitors and gradually consolidate power.20 The 2011 uprising has brought another opening that could move the country toward a more democratic, accountable future. Reconsolidating power around the same northern-based, tribal, and Islamist elites will be difficult, if not impossible, largely because newly empowered constituencies will reject this outcome.

But, it is far too early to start cheering Yemen for choosing a more inclusive and accountable future. There is as yet no durable settlement regarding political and economic power-sharing. Even if one is reached, implementation will be fraught with difficulties, especially in the south, where demands for separation are unlikely soon to abate. At best, a long and tumultuous process of negotiation and change has begun. The future is likely to hold bouts of localized violence, along with growing economic and humanitarian challenges." >>> Journal of Democracy