Government, Embassy and Military
Various struggles within Yemen have led to continual problems. 1990 saw the unification of North and South Yemen. They have officially recognized Islam as the country’s religion and Arabic as its official language. The constitution also provides for a multiparty democracy, however a change in 2001 gave the president more power.
The president is the head of Yemen’s executive branch. The term is for 7 years and a president cannot go for more than two terms. There is also a vice president and cabinet. There is a legislative branch with two houses of parliament as well as a judiciary branch of a high council and a Supreme Court. Yemenis can vote once they are of the age of 18.
1999 marked the first year that the Yemenis were able to vote for their president. They were not given many choices however, because of the two political parties that had emerged, the General People’s Congress and the Islah Party. The Islah party did not have enough votes and backed out of the election. Ali Abdullah Saleh became the president by a landslide vote of 96% of the voters. He is the only president that the country has seen to date as he was re-elected again in 2006.
The country is currently being run by Vice President, Abd-Rabbu Mansour, as Saleh has left the country to be treated for injuries, though the government has said that Saleh will return, regardless of the number of citizens who want him to resign from office.
The next set of presidential elections is set to be held in 2013.
The embassy of Yemen requires that all non-residents enter Yemen with a visa that they obtain ahead of time. Part of the reason for this is because of Yemen’s stance on terrorism and their work at trying to remove it from its county. Ambassador Al-Hiajiri was appointed in 1997 and is also the non-resident Ambassador to Mexico and Venezuela as well as the Permanent Observer of Yemen to the Organization of American States.
Yemen has a high number of military personnel and also have the second largest military force (after Saudi Arabia) on the Arabian Peninsula. There is the Yemeni Army which includes the Republican Guard, the Navy (which also houses Marines), and the Yemen Air Force. The army contains the highest number of troops at about 66,000 and the air force with the smallest at about 5,000. 40% of the entire country’s budget is set to encompass defense and is expected to remain high because of current political and social turmoil taking place throughout the country.