UN welcomes Yemen's agreement for holding national dialogue
The United Nations envoy for Yemen said Wednesday that an agreement has been reached to resolve the last contentious issue of the allocation of seats for the all-inclusive national dialogue conference that is a key element of the country's democratic transition.
The agreement paves the way for the holding of the national dialogue, which is scheduled to take place later this year and the outcome of which will feed into a constitution-making process that is to conclude in late 2013, enabling general elections to take place in February 2014.
"I am pleased to announce this evening that a resolution has been reached to the recent deadlock amongst all stakeholders over the allocation of seats at the upcoming national dialogue conference," Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser on Yemen, said in a statement issued in the capital, Sana'a.
Benomar said that it became very clear as discussions ensued amongst the Preparatory Committee that there was simply no perfect formula that would suit all the groups represented - the main political party known as the General People's Congress (GPC) and former opposition parties, the Houthis, youth and women activists, and representatives of the South.
The Committee accepted a formula put forward by Benomar to end the deadlock. According to media reports, the proposal includes the allocation of 112 seats in the 565-seat conference to the GPC and its allies, 85 seats to the Houthis, and 40 seats each for women and youth.
"With this last contentious issue resolved, the long hours and efforts of the Committee are coming to a conclusion," said Benomar. "The fruits of their efforts will soon deliver a final report and other elements finalizing the rules and structure of the conference.
"The dedication and efforts of the Committee is to be highly commended. They have paved the way for a national dialogue that is truly constructive, participatory and effective," he added.
Yemen's democratic transition has been taking place under the Government of National Unity led by President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, who came to power in an election in February.
This followed an agreement signed by warring factions in November 2011 on a transitional settlement in the wake of widespread protests similar to those seen across the Middle East and North Africa, and the resignation of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.