Last week, MEI scholars Allen Keiswetter, a retired Foreign Service officer, David Newton, former ambassador to Yemen, and Roby Barrett, author of Yemen: A Different Political Paradigm in Context (2011), gathered for an informal discussion about Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference (NDC), which began in March. The NDC, which features 565 representatives of all parts of Yemeni society, has been tasked with discussing the country’s problems in nine separate working groups in order to put forth recommendations on a new constitution and system of government. The NDC was scheduled to deliver its recommendations on September 18, but the deadline has been extended. After the NDC reports, the plan is for a constitutional commission to be formed that will have three months to produce a new draft constitution. In 2014, a referendum on the constitution will take place, followed by new elections.
Keiswetter moderated the discussion, with Newton and Barrett weighing in—often with differences of opinion, which made for a lively debate.