Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Systematic fraud in voter registration in uncontested Yemeni presidential election?

Filed under: Aden, Elections — by Jane Novak at 6:25 pm on Sunday, February 19, 2012

This video purports to show SCER workers in Aden have issued several voter cards to the same individual voters as well as certified checks as payment for voting for Hadi. This kind of fraud was quite common in 2006 when registered male voters exceeded Yemeni men. Then the regime also redeployed army units to opposition strong holds as there are several definitions of domicile in the law.

(Update: I posted the video to the SCERs FB page and asked if it was true, and they deleted it, so I guess it is true. They didn’t deny it, explain it as a rogue worker, say they would investigate or call me a zionist, they just deleted it. Update 2: Some Yemenis are saying these are old voter cards from the 2006 election as southerners claim people have been trucked in to vote. )

While its absurd to buy votes in an uncontested election, the registration fraud in Aden is likely meant to undermine the southern boycott of the poll. Its unclear to me from the vid if these are new double registrations or if these are these duplicates from the last “free and fair” election. But they are current checks. With all the new donor cash floating around, there could be quite a high turn out in Aden on paper. With all the prior strong-arming of those who objected to the plan and the election, I doubt the US would discourage buying votes as long as the result looks good in the western media in time for the US presidential election.

The point of the bizarre 48 million dollar single-candidate election is to give constitutional legitimacy to Hadi by a public mandate, but the public overtly and continuously rejected the GCC blueprint which supersedes the constitution and all Yemeni law anyway.

I don’t think it has really sunk in yet to the pubic that GCC document is the law of the land for the next two years and cannot be challenged within Yemen. In the event of a failure of consensus, Hadi makes the final decisions. The plan creates a new dictatorship that is required to accept international supervision. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t widely published or discussed. It’s an international trusteeship, which might not be bad with the right administrators, but the UN and US embassy are trying to sneak it by the citizenry while calling it democracy.

Under the GCC plan, Southerners are invited to the upcoming national conference to discuss how to best accomplish a stable unified Yemen. A future referendum on unity is not an option. (But if the military restructuring is done prior to the enfranchisement of southern citizens, it will inflame passions and harden positions.) The causes of the Saada war will be explored. The new constitution will be written in three months (although the 1990 constitution before the later amendments isn’t so bad, it was just never enforced or interpreted and needs a bill of rights.) There will be some kind of justice for the protesters harmed in 2011. Those injured or killed before are unacknowledged and there’s no proposed remedy for them. Saleh and his regime got immunity and maybe the past war crimes and theft will all fade into smoke.Or else the US is creating another red line, another false reality and another source of tension to bubble on the streets until it explodes.

The framers of the GCC transitional document didn’t study the 2006 JMP National Reform Plan that was published after a year of rigorous discussions, compromise and work. The document reached agreement among the divergent parties on many vital issues including the south and Saada. It created structures for implementation. There were other important reform blueprints including the tribally based National Dialog Committee’s in 2009. The GCC document, now the highest law in Yemen, seems a hastily written, simplistic, non-Yemeni product designed to re-install the regime while convincing the protesters into returning home with a vague assurance of progress.

The US is seeking to replace the regime’s figurehead (temporarily) but not the regime. Saleh is welcome to return as head of the GPC, Feierstein says. Its so disturbing the mass murderer gets to return to the blood stained streets with total immunity and no one has any recourse.

The US ambassador has repeatedly trashed the Yemeni air force pilots (among many other groups) seeking the ouster of Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar, instead of taking this opportunity to push for his resignation. The Air Force is among the biggest financial black holes in the line item military budget. Yemen owes Russia six billion dollars, primarily for Air Force expenditures like MIGs, upgrading and repairing the MIGs and MIG parts, although most of the MIGs are off line. Where all the money actually went is an interesting question indeed. Russian will have a place in the internal political reconciliation process.

Brennan re-creating the Saleh dictatorship as a tactic in the battle against al Qaeda makes as much sense as Holder approving weapons shipments to Mexican drug cartels as a tactic in the battle against arms smuggling, and likely will be just as effective. However Saleh finally and officially dethroned, after 33 years and despite all the earlier US obstructionism, is quite an accomplishment for Yemenis.

Late Sunday, Hadi said in a statement carried by Yemen’s state news agency that he knows that unless there is hope, the stability Yemenis desire will not be achieved if the country continues to grapple with hunger, fear and illness. He called on developed nations to assist the country financially.

“What is certain is that we will not bury our heads in the sand to avoid facing the facts,” he said, and called for radical reforms, political pluralism and combating terrorism, in part by improving living conditions and creating jobs.

He also said there that cannot be stability in Yemen nor a return to normal life “without first ending the rife divisions within the army.”

As for Saleh, who is currently in the U.S. for medical treatment, Brennan said he expected Saleh to return to Yemen after the election. U.S. officials have said that while Saleh’s U.S. visit is solely medical, they hope his absence from Yemen will ease the transition.

Many in Yemen worry that Saleh, who has ruled for 33 years through a mix of shrewd politics and brute force, will continue to influence Yemeni politics through his many relatives and allies he has placed in high positions.

Speaking of Saleh’s future, Brennan said he would have no official role in government.

“Ali Abdullah after the election will be a private Yemeni citizen, and his future is something that he and his family will need to determine,” he said.

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