Yemen completed the first phase of transition with the recent success of the presidential elections and has resulted in the high hopes amongst Yemen’s population.
Hopes have been pushed so high that many believed that the problems of Yemen would end on February 21st. Yet the hardest part has just begun. While the first phase nearly brought Yemen to its knees as the country ended strongman rule in modern Yemen, the challenges of the second phase are not just complex, but many.
Accordingly, the largest challenge facing Hadi is that everyone views his government as a blank screen that they can project their views and beliefs of a better future onto.
The general population of Yemen expects the new government to address unemployment and creating more economic stability. The youth want the government to bring those who committed crimes at Change Square to trial. NGOs want the new government to place human rights at the center of their efforts. The international community believes that security must be the top concern including issues such as restructuring the military and ending violence in the north and in the south.
The only common denominator amongst these groups is that they each believe that if their selected issue is not fully addressed, Hadi’s two-year term may fail and threaten the future of Yemen.
This myriad of competing views can provide the kindling for a vibrant democracy in Yemen. If successful, such debates on how best to win Yemen’s future could create a model of success for other Arab states to follow as they all transition to a new era.
However, this myriad of views also presents the biggest risk for Hadi in this fledglng stage in Yemen’s storied history. If Hadi cannot successfully meet all these desires of its people, they won’t believe the second phase was a success and may lead to destabilizing discontent.
Yemen and its citizens must be careful in placing all the weight of their hopes on to Hadi. He is simply one person and cannot turn everyone’s hopes into reality. Instead, all of us must be realistic and him to at least begin to pave the path towards our ideal Yemen.