Yemeni Socialist Party

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Yemeni political party.

Created in October 1978 as the "vanguard party" required by Marxist-Leninist theory, the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) superseded the United Political Organization of the National Front, which in turn had replaced the National Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (the National Front), created in 1963. The latter, which was made up of seven smaller groupings, including the Arab Nationalist movement, eventually emerged as the strongest and best organized of the various groups competing for leadership of Aden and the protectorates in opposition to the British presence.

As the sole party in the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), it was the organization that arranged the union of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen with the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) in 1990. Thereafter, it became one of the three major parties in the unified state. However, the elections of 1993 led to a civil war between the former PDRY and YAR, with the leaders of the YSP declaring a new Democratic Republic of Yemen in the South in May 1994. Soundly defeated by the central government, the party's leaders went into exile. Thereafter, the party's northern branch elected a new leadership, none of whose members had participated in the Democratic Republic of Yemen.

Tensions between the other two major parties in the unified Yemen, and the YSP's continued significant support in the South, resulted in a desire to return the YSP to some role in the central government in the late 1990s. Although the YSP boycotted the 1997 elections, some of its members were elected as independents. By the time of the 1999 presidential election, northern members of the YSP had been reintegrated into the political system, and although the actual head of the YSP was disqualified as a candidate, Najib Qahtan al-Shaʿabi, the son of the first president of South Yemen, was approved. In 2000, the YSP joined a bloc of opposition parties to create the Supreme Opposition Council, and in 2003 it participated in the parliamentary elections, gaining 8 percent of the seats.

see also people's democratic republic of yemen; yemen; yemen civil war.


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Halliday, Fred. Revolution and Foreign Policy: The Case of South Yemen, 19671987. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Joffe, E. G. H.; Hachemi, M. J.; and Watkins, E. W. Yemen Today: Crisis and Solutions: Proceedings of a Two-Day Conference Held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, November 25 and 26, 1995. London: Caravel, 1997.

Mundy, Martha. Domestic Government: Kinship, Community, and Polity in North Yemen. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Suwaidi, Jamal al-, ed. The Yemeni War of 1994: Causes and Consequences. Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, 1996.

Wenner, Manfred. The Yemen Arab Republic: Development and Change in an Ancient Land. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991.

manfred w. wenner