The referendum of 15./16. 5. Constitution approved in 1991 (last revised in 2001) defines Yemen as an Arab Islamic republic with a presidential regime and Islamas the state religion, guarantees the multi-party system and the practice of religion by non-Islamic minorities. The President, who has extensive powers (e.g. the right to dissolve parliament) and who is directly elected for 7 years (one-time re-election possible), acts as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He appoints the Prime Minister and, at his suggestion, the other members of the Cabinet. Legislation is incumbent on the parliament, which consists of 301 members elected for six years (active voting right from 18 years, passive from 25 years; regulation also applies to women). In the course of the constitutional reform approved by referendum on February 20, 2001, the Consultative Council (59 members) was transformed into a Shura Council (111 members appointed by the President) with expanded powers.
The national flag is horizontally striped in the Arabic colors of red, white and black. It was adopted with the unification of the two Yemeni states on May 22, 1990.
The coat of arms was also adopted on May 22, 1990. It shows a right-handing gold-colored eagle with outstretched wings and a gold-rimmed breast shield. The shield is divided by a gold-colored, stylized representation of the Marib dam; Above the embankment a branch of coffee with fruit, underneath it blue and silver wavy lines. In its claws the eagle holds two state flags and a tape with the official state name in Kufic letters.
The coat of arms of Yemen shows a golden eagle, each of which holds a state flag and a tape with the state name in Kufic script in its claws. A coffee plant is depicted in the breast shield, including the stylized dam of Marib and water.
The national holiday on May 22nd commemorates the unification of the two Yemeni states in 1990.
The most influential parties include the conservative General People’s Congress (AVK), which is mainly based in northern Yemen, the Islamic Yemeni Association for Reform (Islah), the Nasserist Unionist People’s Party (NUPP), the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party and the Yemeni Socialist Party (JSP), which was the state-sponsoring party in the south before the unification of North and South Yemen.
The total strength of the armed forces is about 67,000, the paramilitary forces 50,000 men. The army (60,000 soldiers) has ten armored and mechanized brigades, 16 infantry and two paratrooper brigades, plus ten artillery and anti-aircraft brigades as well as one special forces and one central guard brigade. The Air Force has around 5,000 and the Navy 1,700 soldiers.
As a country beginning with Y according to Countryaah, Yemen is administratively divided into 21 governorates and the capital district, which are further divided into districts and parishes.
The Islamic Sharia is the basis of the legislation. The courts of first instance and the appellate courts deal with civil, criminal, commercial and family law matters. Islamic family law can also be applied to non-Muslims upon request. The highest judicial authority is the Supreme Court in Sanaa. In addition, there is local customary law as well as tribal law among the Bedouins.
For a long time, the Yemeni education system was characterized by a low school attendance rate, high absenteeism among pupils, short school attendance periods and inadequate material and staffing facilities in educational institutions. Since 1990 the situation seems to be slowly improving, even if there are still major problems with the implementation of general basic education.
Primary school in Yemen lasts 9 years and leads to the “Intermediate School Certificate”. The secondary level (3 years) comprises general and vocational institutions. The secondary level is concluded with the »Al Thanawiya« exam. In the tertiary sector there are private and public universities, including in Sanaa (founded 1970) and Aden (founded 1975).
The media landscape is divided along the lines of political conflict. There is hardly any independent reporting. In the civil war, violence against journalists and the media is ubiquitous.
Press: Newspapers are read mainly in the cities. The government’s own “Ath-Thawra” (“Revolution”) is under the control of the Houthi rebels, who also publish “Al-Masirah” (“March”). “Ar-Rabi Aschar Min Uktubar” (“October 14”) appear in Aden and “Al-Jumhuriya” (“Republic”) in Taiz. “Al-Yaman al-Yawm” (“Yemen today”) is connected to the family of the former President Saleh. “The Yemen Times” and “Yemen Post” (both Sanaa) are in English.
News Agency : Yemen News Agency (SABA, state).
Radio: The Houthi rebels and the government of President Hadi each broadcast two main programs under the label “Republic of Yemen Television” (Yemen TV). “Sanaa Radio” and “Aden Radio” are also state-run. “Al-Masirah” is a Houthi satellite station. “Yemen Today” is close to ex-President Saleh.