Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
In February 2010, the government announced a ceasefire in its ongoing conflict with Houthi rebels in the northern province of Saada, but violence flared between the rebels and progovernment tribes in July. Meanwhile, southern secessionists intensified their calls for independence during the year, and clashes between southern activists and the security forces accelerated, leading to more than a dozen deaths. The authorities used the tensions in the south as an excuse to crack down on the media, raiding the offices and arresting the editor of a banned southern newspaper in January. Militants associated with the terrorist network Al-Qaeda carried out multiple attacks in 2010, and Yemeni and American forces responded with military strikes, including a September assault on the town of Hawta that resulted in the displacement of thousands of people.
Yemen is not an electoral democracy. The political system is dominated by the ruling GPC party, and there are few limits on the authority of the executive branch. President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been serving continuously since 1978, when he became president of North Yemen through a military coup.