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Yemen is a republic with a constitution that provides for a president, a parliament, and an independent judiciary. Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh formally stepped down in , when voters elected Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the sole consensus candidate, president in a vote generally considered free and fair.
During the subsequent transition, elements of the transitional government sought to expand political participation to formerly excluded groups, such as women, youth, and minorities.
Throughout the year the Houthis, a Shia movement, forcefully expanded from their base in the northwest part of the country, capturing cities and taking over territory. By September they seized government buildings and key infrastructure.
Previously, a National Dialogue Conference NDC had met in and during the year to make recommendations for the country's political future. The transitional government was also to implement these outcomes. Authorities did not always maintain effective control over the security forces.
The most significant human rights problems were arbitrary killings, disappearances, kidnappings, and other extremist threats and violence committed by various groups and a weak and corrupt judicial system that did not provide for the rule of law. Other human rights violations included the use of excessive force by government forces during demonstrations; torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lengthy pretrial detentions; some infringements on citizens' privacy rights; some limits on freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement; lack of transparency; corruption at all levels of government; violence and discrimination against women, children, persons with disabilities, and minorities; restrictions on worker rights; and trafficking in persons to include forced labor.