SANAA: Yemen President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi has tasked a committee with exploring options to turn the republic into a federation, as agreed in reconciliation talks, state media said.
The committee led by Hadi himself will look into dividing the country either into two or six regions, according to a presidential decree published late Monday by Saba state news agency.
A national dialogue that is part of a U.N.-backed deal that ended a year of Arab Spring-inspired protests wrapped up last week with an agreement to establish a federal system, hoping to answer southern demands for self-autonomy.
The committee comprises representatives from across the country.
The format reached by the committee will be inserted in the text of a new constitution that should be drafted and voted on within a year, according to the decree.
The six-region option would divide the south into two regions, while the remaining four would be in the north, it said.
Southerners have strongly opposed proposals for a federation of six units. Separatists have boycotted the dialogue all together.
Southern Yemen formed an independent state from the end of British rule in 1967 until 1990.
A secession attempt four years later led to a war that ended with northern forces taking the south.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 29, 2014, on page 9.