Political Analysis

Mauritanian Foreign Minister Determines Conditions for Decentralization in Yemen

National Yemen

By Asma Al-Mohattwari

 Civil Consciousness and Rule of Law Stream (TWQ), together with the the French project to support the Constitution, held a seminar on the “Optimal Distribution of Powers between the Central Government and Local Authorities” on 4 July in Sana’a.

Prominent speakers at the event include the Mauritanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohamed Hassan Ould Lebat of the University of Toulouse, law professor and international and constitutional expert, and Jean-Marc Le Pen, public financial management expert with the European Union.

At the opening ceremony, Ambassador of the French Republic Frank Jelleh delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of Yemenis’ formulating their own constitution model before they make a comparison with theoretical models that lie in other states and communities.

The ambassador believed that the priority today is not to simply prepare a model, but rather to discover a constitutional style that fits the conditions of Yemen and remains consistent with Yemeni interests.

At the meeting, Prof. Dr. Mohamed Hassan Ould Lebat’s speech focused on the outlook of the power distribution between the central government and local authorities. He said that to determine real power balance of a state requires two conditions: first, the availability of an elected local, legislative representative body, and second, the existence of a local executive authority, which may be elected indirectly.

Mauritanian experts confirmed the importance of establishing a system to organize the relationship between the central government and local authorities, which often requires a judicial body in which the two authorities can consult any disputes.

“Yemenis are aware that the establishment of a decentralized system is an extended process, requiring strong performance through sequential stages and steps” he added.

Management expert Jean-Marc Le Pen commented that Yemen cannot support a discussion on political decentralization without first addressing financial and budgetary decentralization.  He warned that the neglect of the financial and economic dimensions of decentralization may undermine the political decentralization.

During his lecture, Le Pen also presented his vision of the sectors that need greater financial independence and those that are related to the central authority in some way. Le Pen devoted part of his lecture to focus on efforts necessary for securing sustainable sources of funding from local authorities.