Saba agency

Does the PLC Work Without Regulations?


Wed, 15-03-2023 02:44 PM, Aden

Raad Alrimi (South24)

On April 7th, Yemen's Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) will complete its first year since the power transfer declaration by former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. So far, PLC has worked without regulations that organize its activities and the bodies affiliated with it.

Article (3) of the Power transfer declaration said: “A legal team of competent national competencies shall be formed to draft the rules regulating the work of the Presidential Leadership Council, the Consultation and Reconciliation Commission, the legal team and the economic team formed under this declaration”.

It added: “It shall be submitted within (45) days from the date of this declaration to the President of the Presidential Leadership Council for approval and issued by law”. On May 31st, the legal team led by Judge Hamoud Al-Hatar submitted a regulation draft to the PLC Chairman, Rashad Al-Alimi, but it was rejected due to objections against it. 

The draft has been accused of turning against the outcomes of the Riyadh Consultations and PLC as well as providing Al-Alimi with more powers beyond his assumed limits. It has been criticized by political commanders and Southern journalists affiliated with or close to STC. 

What is the fate of the draft?

Sources in the legal team, in charge of preparing the draft, told “South24 Center” that Hamoud Al-Hatar who is affiliated with the Islamic Islah party still heads the legal team despite being dismissed from his position as the head of the Supreme Court in early August. 

Al-Hatar was selected as the Head of the legal team in vague circumstances after Ismail Al-Wazir declined holding the position. The latter’s name was originally included in the power transfer declaration as the Head of the legal team along with 8 members mostly from Northern governorates including Al-Hatar himself. 

Member of the legal team Ahmed Zabin Attia exclusively told “South 24 Center” that “the draft which was submitted last May is still under discussions”. He added: “We finished the draft within the 45-day period allotted to us”. 

He added: “We handed over the draft to the PLC Chairman so as to allow its members to express their opinions about it before returning it to the House of Representatives to be approved as a law”. Attia denied that STC or any other party submitted an objection regarding the previous draft. However, he didn’t clarify why it hasn’t been approved yet. 

Attia pointed out that “the approval of the draft as a law would solve many discrepancies regarding decision making within PLC. This is because it will be derived from the power transfer declaration upon which PLC was based”. 

“South24 Center” contacted Al-Hatar to reply to several questions but we have not so far received a response.

The effect of lack of regulations 

Political analyst Nabil Al-Sufi believes that the ongoing delay of ratifying the regulation draft reflects the lack of consensus within PLC. He also told "South24 Center": "There are no disputes among PLC members. However, there are no discussions or consensus related to many issues”. 

Al-Sufi pointed to the role which Al-Alimi has sought to play within PLC as a “consensus valve” by contacting other members individually to take some decisions instead of dealing with it as one bloc.

Al-Sufi believes that with the absence of this draft, Al-Alimi behaves as a president of the republic which has no existence currently. He pointed out those Al-Alimi deals with PLC as an advisory council only. This “would weaken Dr. Rashad and PLC members”.

For Southern politician, Lawyer Yahya Ghalib, the real problem is not the absence of regulations but it is breaching the power transfer declaration itself. He told “South24 Center”: “The power transfer declaration is the origin which organizes the PLC’s work. The draft is derived from it”. 

He added: “It is a mistake to believe that PLC is without regulations and texts that organize its activities and work. The articles of the power transfer decision are the basic regulations which organize the council’s work ahead of any organizational regulations”. 

He added: “the question is what will be the benefit of the PLC’s regulations while the articles of power transfer declaration are being breached. Regulations, even if approved, have no more legal forces than the power transfer resolution".

Ghalib accused Al-Alimi of breaching the power transfer resolution and its clear articles which stressed the need to reach consensus regarding decision making He added: "What Al-Alimi has done in making decisions such as establishing Nation Shield Forces is the most prominent example of this breach”. 

He indicated that the decision to establish these forces is considered a violation which is not allowed by any article in the power transfer resolution even for the entire PLC.

Ghalib pointed out that the draft, which he described as "unacceptable" was returned to the legal team at that time without approving it. He also criticized the legal team in charge of preparing the draft adding that "it lacks the political and legal experience as well as the legislative drafting. The team also belongs to one political spectrum".

On February 24th, STC's Deputy Head of Foreign Affairs, Anis Al-Sharafi said: "Rashad Al-Alimi hijacked the decision making and monopolized it after the establishment of PLC”. This came after press statements by Rashad Al-Alimi about the Southern issue which has led to a crisis with STC".

The ongoing absence of regulations threatens committing violations. This may lead Rashad Al-Alimi to take decisions as a result of external pressures or approaches related to the peace process or to give concessions which may spark broader disputes within PLC amid reports of an imminent deal between the Saudis and the Houthis.

On March 8th, the Consultation and Reconciliation Commission, which supports PLC, approved 3 documents including the commission’s internal system document in order to approve the regulation draft for PLC's work, according to the statement submitted by the head of the commission Mohammed Al-Ghaithi.

The member in the commission, Rasha Jarhum told “South24 Center” that “the delay in the approval of the regulation draft has not hampered the work of the Consultation and Reconciliation Commission. She added: “the delay of issuing it does not mean halting work”.

She added: “The commission has moved ahead on implementing its tasks, foremost of which is preparing a matrix of the most important issues facing PLC and suggesting mechanisms for solutions. Moreover, the commission held meetings every two months at least and continued discussing issues”.

Jarhum concluded that the commission submitted proposals to the legal team last year regarding preparing the regulation draft. However, the disparities around the draft and the changes occurring in the legal team have prevented the approval of the draft till now”. 

Raad Alrimi 

Journalist at South24 Center for News and Studies in Aden.

South YemenYemenPLCRegulation draft