Yemen is a republic, and the constitution prescribes
elections to a legislative assembly (parliament) and
As a result of the war in Yemen, from 2015, the
established political system has been put out of order, and
the country has by no means ceased to act as a state
formation. There are rival centers of power in Sanaa and
Aden. The internationally recognized government has been
expelled from the capital Sanaa, and the president has gone
into exile in Saudi Arabia. The Houti rebel movement
controls much of the country, including the capital. Various
militia groups are fighting for control of southern Yemen,
including Aden; some of them for detachment. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how YE can stand for Yemen.
Constitution and political system
The two former states of North Yemen and South Yemen were
merged into one state formation in 1990. They had very
different political foundations. Both were republics; South
Yemen with a Marxist regime. Under the new constitution of
1991, Yemen is a unified state, Arab and Islamic republic.
The head of state, the president, is elected to the general
election for seven years and can be re-elected once. The
executive power lies with the president, who appoints the
prime minister, who heads the government. The president is
also supreme commander of the country's defense.
The legislative power has been added to the House of
Representatives (Majlis al-Nuwaab) with 301
members, who are elected in the general elections for a term
of six years. In addition, there is a 59-member consultative
council (shura) established in 1997. The members
are appointed by the president. The two bodies are sometimes
referred to as two chambers in parliament, with the
consultative council as a form of upper house.
Yemen has a multi-party system, but politics has been
dominated by two parties; The General People's Congress and
the Islah Party.
Administratively, Yemen is divided into 20 provinces
(governorates; muhafazat), as well as the
metropolitan area of Sanaa.
The judicial system is based on Islamic law. In the
former northern Yemen there was also a tribal justice system
that has been retained to some extent. Similarly, the
justice system has also been influenced by South Yemen,
which is based on English common law, modified with elements
of Marxist law.
The judicial system consists of three levels, with first
instance at district level and appellate courts at
provincial level, as well as the Supreme Court.
As a result of the 2015 Yemen War, which followed a civil
war following the uprising in 2011–2012, national defense
has partially disintegrated. The government was expelled
from the capital Sanaa by the Houti rebels in 2015, and
re-established itself in Aden.
Remaining parts of the government forces have established
themselves in former South Yemen, where a number of local
militia groups are also active.
Yemen has a post-selection military service, with 24
months of initial service. The total force figures for the
government forces are 40,000 active personnel (2018, IISS).
The government forces have a workforce of about 40,000
active personnel, including associated militias. Materials
include an unknown number of tanks (T-54 and T-55, T-62,
T-72, and M60), clearing vehicles, storm tanks, armored
personnel vehicles, medium- heavy artillery, light air
defense artillery and six reconnaissance aircraft.
As a result of the 2015 war, foreign ground forces have
also been deployed in Yemen, primarily in the southern part.
In 2018–2019, the United Arab Emirates had an estimated
3,000 soldiers, including tanks and combat helicopters, in
Yemen; Saudi Arabia had 1,500 personnel, with tanks and
combat helicopters. Also Sudan had 950 personnel and tanks
In 2019, the United Arab Emirates withdrew its troops
from Yemen, and operational support for militia groups in
the south was taken over by Saudi Arabia.