Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Hadi appoints judges to SCER

Filed under: Elections, Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 2:23 pm on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Monday Yemen’s interim president Mansour Abdo Hadi named several judges to the Supreme Commission on Elections and Referendum (SCER). The SCER is responsible for the technical aspects of elections and has a pivotal role in maintaining or subverting the integrity of elections.

In a meeting that included UN envoy Jamal ben Omar, President Hadi selected “honest and competent” judges, the state news agency SABA reported.

The SCER will oversee Yemen’s next presidential election, scheduled for 2014.

The question of electoral reforms has been the subject of heated dispute among Yemen’s political parties since at least 2003 when parliamentary elections were last held.

Yemen’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress party (GPC) systematically rejected electoral reforms that would diminish its stranglehold on political power, the Parliament and other state apparatus. As a result the GPC and the opposition party alliance, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) have been politically deadlocked for years on the question of the SCER and other reforms.

It was Parliament’s inability to implement needed electoral reforms that gave rise to the perceived illegitimacy of government and mass demonstrations in 2011 and led in part ultimately the overthrow of Ali Abdullah Saleh, president since 1978 and head of the GPC.

In the run up to the 2006 presidential election, the opposition JMP suggested the SCER be split equally between GPC and JMP loyalists instead of selected by the President. The partisan division of the SCER was a method deployed following 1990’s unity of North and South Yemen. In a compromise, two additional members from the opposition were appointed to the SCER.

Saleh’s 2006 re-election was characterized by wide ranging irregularities. Saleh’s ruling GPC party signed an agreement to implement a range of electoral reforms if the JMP dropped its claims of electoral fraud. The GPC wanted to cement a veneer of legitimacy on Saleh. The JMP refocused on the 2009 parliamentary election and its goal of a proportional representation system.

The JMP advocated adopting the proportional or list method. The “first past the post” method in place gives advantage to the ruling GPC and established parties in general. In 2003’s parliamentary election, the GPC received 58 per cent of the vote and 238 seats. Candidates of JMP member party, Islah, won 22 per cent of the vote but only 46 seats. The GPC’s parliamentary seats increased from 123 in 1993, to 187 in 1997 and 238 in 2003. The participation of independent candidates and women candidates sharply dropped in each election.

The 2006 agreement on electoral reforms between the GPC and JMP was based on reports from impartial international observers and included redrawing the imbalanced electoral districts, redefining “domicile” to prevent the transfer of army units into opposition strongholds in order to sway the vote, and revising wildly inaccurate voter rolls.

However the GPC dominated parliament stalled and stonewalled the negotiations, prompting opposition JMP members to boycott parliament several times. Without a modicum of progress since 2006, Yemen’s 2009 parliamentary election was postponed until April 2011.

Yemen’s Youth Revolution began in January 2011 and called for the overthrow and trial of Yemen’s long ruling military dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh and his entire regime. The protesters rejected both the opposition and ruling parties as corrupt, ineffective and anti-democratic. For months the United States maintained support for Saleh despite atrocities committed against protesters by state security forces. The US had invested over $300 million in Yemen’s counter-terror forces since 2006 and had little contact with political forces outside Saleh’s family and circle of elites.

In April 2011, Parliament voted itself more time in office, again delaying elections in order to “give political parties a chance to develop the political and democratic system, reshape the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum, and finalize discussions over related issues,” the Yemen Post reported.

By November 2011, ongoing nationwide protests forced Saleh from power under a transition plan devised by the United States and Saudi Arabia under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Known as the GCC plan and endorsed by the UN Security Council, the transfer of power in Yemen was based on a guarantee of immunity for Saleh and his cronies. The GCC plan left the ruling regime and its military assets largely intact. Saleh retained his financial assets, thought to be well in excess of $10 billion.

Saleh’s Vice President Abdo Mansour Hadi was nominated as a consensus candidate by both the ruling GPC and opposition JMP. Hadi was the sole candidate in a February 2012 presidential “election” that saw a 65% turn-out.

The electoral reforms stalled since 2006 were not an issue during the 2012 presidential election, as the winner was pre-determined, but any unresolved issues certainly will come into play in 2014 when President Hadi’s term expires.

By dividing the interim government between Saleh’s GPC party and the JMP, the transition plan artificially empowered Yemen’s opposition parties, especially the Islamic Reform Party, Islah which dominates the JMP.

A report detailing President Hadi’s 220 new appointments alleges they were selected based on party affiliation and political loyalty, not merit, competence or ability.

Saleh remains active in Yemeni politics as head of the GPC party. Saleh is also thought responsible for militias and terrorists who are undermining the Yemeni security with violence directed against persons and infrastructure.

Mass protests continue in Yemen calling for the ouster of Saleh’s relatives and loyalists who remain as military commanders and in other high ranking positions. Other demands include overturning the immunity deal, and trying Saleh for mass corruption, and the deaths of protesters during the revolution and for war crimes prior to 2011.

Hadi’s government is gearing up to hold a national dialog in November, bringing in disenfranchised groups including southern secessionists and northern rebels.

Resonate Yemen’s election report

Filed under: Civil Society, Elections, reports — by Jane Novak at 8:26 am on Monday, March 12, 2012

NGO Resonate Yemen has issued their report on the 2012 presidential election in Yemen. It is available here at their website.

SM leader: Saleh takes profits directly from YMC, moderate SM rejects al Beidh’s Iranian nexus, wants to participate in reconstruction

Filed under: Abyan, Aden, Elections, GPC, Interviews, Iran, Islamic Imirate, Post Saleh, South Yemen, Transition — by Jane Novak at 6:54 pm on Sunday, March 11, 2012

Update: As expected howls of dissent from southerners: the new leader is someone else, I hesitate to even write the name as bad things happen sometimes to emerging leaders, Nakhbi now is an Islah operative they say and there are no, repeat no, connections to Iran. But al Beidh has been talking about Iran for a long time, when he even bothers to talk at all, and I think its quite possible. For a run down on Aden TV and all Yemen private broadcasting, see this listing of who owns what at the Yemen Times.

Original: Bingo! I also do not agree with what is happening between al Beidh and Iran. The violence during the election boycott was an entirely new phenomenon which broke with the years long non-violence of the southern movement. As al Nakhbi says, it was likely due to Iranian influence through the al Beidh wing of the SM. Keep in mind Yemen Fox is affiliated with Ali Mohsen, who has his own motives for undermining the SM. But if this is an authentic interview, then that’s what it is.

While there’s noticeably a lot fewer al Beidh photos during the southern protests, its unclear the extent to which awareness of the alliance between al Beidh and Iran has filtered down to the street, although he himself has been threatening the west with Iran for years. General Nuba issued a warning to world about the danger of Iran’s growing influence in the south a few months ago. Many external former leaders are in favor of federalism as expressed at the Cairo conference. I think there’s a few more factions than the two broad ones described.

Al Nakhbi also remarks that the several corporation including the mega Yemeni Economic Military Corp remits its profits directly to Saleh. He notes elite support of al Qaeda and the symbiotic relationship between the including the recent massacre in Abyan. He concludes that Saleh must be excluded from politics. (Actually it necessary to fully depose the Saleh regime in order to integrate the Houthis as well as the southerners.) Its an interesting interview, worth a read:

Yemen Fox: Brigadier General Abdullah al-Nakhbi- Secretary-General of Southern Movement (SM) – said that many politicians believe that who stand behind recent terrorist attacks are remnants of the former regime and that Ali Abdullah Saleh has turned from president of republic to president of terrorism. Priorities of Yemenis whether in National Reconciliation Government or Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) in coordination with Gulf States and Europeans are to dismiss Ali Abdullah Saleh from practicing political action.

Nakhbi added in an interview with “Yemen Fox” that al-Qaeda is supported by Ali Abdullah Saleh, his aides and remnants of his regime, pointing out that supervisors of GCC Initiative should put pressure to implement the second term of the Initiative which is to restructure the army and Republican Guards within Ministry of Defense and Central Security within Ministry of Interior.

Interviewed with Hashem al-Toromah

Yemen Fox: How do you see Yemen after presidential elections?
Nakhbi: after presidential elections, we as Yemenis stand at change door. The new President Abdu Rabo Mansur Hadi should have a courage to start change process. Change process should first prevent Ali Abdullah Saleh from practicing politics because recent events took place after swearing oath starting from Mukalla continuing to Bayda and now in Abyan Province. Many politicians believe that who stand behind that are remnants of the former regime and that Ali Abdullah Saleh has turned from president of republic to president of terrorism. (Read on …)

Saleh returns, new Yemeni president, suicide bombing in Hadramout

Filed under: Elections, Hadramout, Presidency, Transition, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 10:16 pm on Saturday, February 25, 2012

Barak Obama’s friend, the war criminal Ali Saleh departed the US and is back in Yemen. Saleh’s immunity is a central part of the US sponsored “transition” plan that followed a 48 million dollar, single candidate (sham) “election.”

Yemen’s first new president in 33 years, Abdo Mansour Hadi, previously Saleh’s Vice, was sworn in on Saturday. Hadi received 6.6 million votes of 10 million registered and two million eligible new voters. On election day, the electoral commission said 13 million votes were printed and they had run out of ballots during the day.

Also on Saturday, a suicide bomber in a slow moving pick-up truck killed 28 soldiers in Hadramout. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility via a text message to Reuters.

Link save: April 9, 2010, Yemen National Dialog Coalition Seeks Reform, Broad Political Inclusion

Three dead in South Yemen

Filed under: Elections, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:07 am on Monday, February 20, 2012

Voting day updates:

Its over! Hadi wins in a landslide. Many people happy to be rid of Saleh. Inauguration Saturday Feb 25.

The first test of the new Yemeni government is how honestly they deal with today’s election; while much was good, even stellar, hiding, minimizing or outright lying about the hot spots isn’t going to encourage confidence.

This is very encouraging because it reflects reality instead of the normal knee jerk propaganda:

Egypt Ind Separatists who had vowed to mark Tuesday’s presidential vote as a day of “civil disobedience” have seized half of the polling booths in Yemen’s main southern city Aden, a government official said.

“Half of the polling booths in Aden have been shut down after they were seized by gunmen from the Southern Movement,” a local government official told AFP. He said the gunmen had closed 10 out of the city’s 20 voting stations.

Beeb Four soldiers killed in Hadramout, half voting centers closed in Aden. Nothing on the wounded people. Everything peachy in Sanaa.

Why we reject the elections by Noon

A few Houthis in Taiz but otherwise voting smooth, needed and got more ballots.

No confirmation or news updates on the foreign workers, must have been a rumor, the best possible outcome. OR something happened and everyone is fine.

Also report: “News confirm the filling of election boxes (by votes of those who didn’t vote) just before closing time at six o’clock in the evening in most of the election centers in the Governorates of Omran and Hajah..”

Voting in the South is not smooth, tension and clashes in Aden, Hadramout and Shabwa. One report injuries, shooting ongoing in Aden. Violence reported in Amran, Aden Taiz, Lahij, Mukalla and Shihr. Half polling stations closed in the south by one report. After five years, there is still no official southern spokesman to explain why there is a boycott, or what happened where, to the world in Arabic or English. There are people getting shot because of the boycott and there’s no statement.

The Houthis on the other hand are very good with statements:

In an attempt to pre-empt failure inevitable for the proportion of citizens’ participation in (the province of Saada and Harf Sufian and the provinces of argument and the cavity) has the authority to distribute the ballot boxes in areas outside their constituencies so that the distribution of funds in (Imran and incited, Sana’a and argument) on behalf of the circles (Saada).

We emphasize that polling stations are open and there is no interference from us towards those who want to vote and to exercise electoral commissions operate without any hindrance Remember, all that is said in some of the media tendentious is an attempt to justify the failure and cover the popular rejection of the real adjustments unilateral imposed on people by force and ignored the suffering and demands .

And began to crowd in (Saada) out of hours marched Tazahria mass to reflect the absolute rejection of this farce is the predetermined and practice of form, and confirmed its progress continued in the popular revolution, without regard to any attempts at misleading the people deterred from continuing the path of revolutionary even up to achieve the goals of the revolution and you will detail later.

The difference in perspective between people in Sanaa and Taiz where everyone is happy and the south and Saada is striking. Hopefully the election overcomes the schism enough to enable conversation instead of making it worse.
(Read on …)

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.

(Read on …)

103K soldiers, security officials to secure elections

Filed under: Elections, GCC, Presidency — by Jane Novak at 1:52 pm on Saturday, February 18, 2012

29,000 boxes committees

26 Sept: SCER: 103,000 officers and soldiers to secure the presidential election Saturday 18 February 2012

The Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) has used over103,000 officers and soldiers from military and security units to secure all electoral committees and constituencies. (Read on …)

Feierstein punishes Houthis for boycott

Filed under: Elections, Saada War, Transition, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:44 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2012

There seems to be the distinct impression the UN and the US ambassador said that anyone who causes trouble during the election will be designated as a terrorist organization. They are really sinking to Saleh’s level by playing the terror card and using the implied threat of drones. The Houthis have said they will not participate but will not stop anyone who wants to “vote.”

One link: Alsahwah.netUN Envoy Jamal Benomar has affirmed to the leader of Houthi group Abdul-Malki Al-Houthi that his group must take part in the presidential elections, otherwise it would be included in the list of terrorist groups, AFP quoted sources close to Benomar .

Some southerners will boycott peacefully as they think voting will reaffirm unity. The Beidh allied faction said they will violently prohibit voting, and there was more violence in the south today. I am starting to understand the earlier Nuba statement waring about Iranian influence in the south.

From Nasser Arrabyee today: This violent group is refused by the majority of the separatists and it is loyal to the German-based former president of the south, Ali Salem Al Beidh, who is reportedly receiving support from Iran. Al Beidh said a several times over the years that he would turn to Iran if he did not get western support. I couldn’t imagine he was that stupid. Maybe I should have.

Hassan Zaid said in an interview that there was an explicit threat from the western nations that if they did not sign the GCC deal, the protest squares would become a blood bath like Syria. It was not a prediction, an analysis or an implication; Zaid says it was an overt threat. The ambassador has said many shocking, aggressive and undiplomatic statements, so the benefit of the doubt is gone. Its also pretty ironic the US ambassador is lamenting foreign intervention after imposing the GCC deal despite public objections and while leaning on the wrong faction.

al Sahwa: Alsahwah.net- The US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein has expressed sorrow at foreign intervention in Yemen, pointing out to the Iranian support to the Houthi group.

“We would be so worried about any foreign interventions in Yemen that aim at raising security or political troubles,” he said In an interview with a Yemeni state-run TV.” We are so concerned about the Iranian attempts to undermine stability and security in Yemen.”

He had renewed the attitudes of his country toward the power transfer and the efforts of the political settlement under the GCC-deal and working with all political parties to sustain the interim government.

This is really nauseating and indicates the whole thing is a total sham. The US hanging on to Saleh’s relatives and Saleh himself: Saba (Feierstein) criticized the protests within the government institutions, in particular military units, affirming the legal actions against any government leaders accused of corruption must be taken. “The accused should have the opportunity to defend themselves”, he underlined.

Regarding the President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s political activity, Feierstein said the US does not have any reservation about the President’s political activities after ending his current presidential term, via leading the General People Congress Party.

Next, consensus governors in Yemen

Filed under: Elections, Local gov, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:01 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2012

Governors were appointed by Saleh untill 2008 when he allowed the GPC packed local councils to approve his selection by “voting.” The US hailed the indirect elections as a major step toward democracy. The results were overturned in the two provinces where reform minded GPC members ran as independents and won. The GCC plan takes a step back from even that innovation. Apparently “consensus candidates” are going to be the new black and in this case, the quickest way to unseat those governors (some of whom resigned or were otherwise replaced by Saleh since the 2008 election. The article notes correctly that there are significant problems with the way the electoral districts are drawn up.

Minister of Local Administration: Provincial governors will be appointed in May next in line

Barakish – said Minister of Local Administration in the government of national reconciliation on the Yazidi will be appointed governors of the provinces of Yemen by consensus after the expiration of the current conservative, and Yazidis, said that the current period of the Governors of the provinces will end in May next

The Minister of Local Administration in an interview with the newspaper “Republic” that after the early presidential elections will be reconsidered in the development of provinces and districts in which the problems, noting that there were positions vacant for some of the governors of the provinces and that will be a review of the situation of Governors of the provinces all.

“We should get to reset the governors of the provinces Twafiqian as we form a government of national consensus and everything will be by consensus and through dialogue.”

He pointed out that the Yazidi conservative current period will end in May next, adding that he should put everything to the dialogue harmonic «in order to lay the correct and current systems for running the country during the next two years».

In dismissing the factions in the southern movement of the presidential elections on 21 February, The Minister of Local Administration for communication between the government and «some of the leaders of the movement», as it seeks «to convince them that participation in elections is the practice of democracy« No one should compel any citizen had to make vote or not to force him to cast his vote in the elections ».

The national dialogue conference to be held after the election, which will be where all the issues and outstanding problems, particularly the Southern cause, and Yazidi said that «the issue of the South to deny deny Yemen».

Ali Mohsen says Bin Shamlan won the 2006 presidential election, results were rigged

Filed under: Donors, UN, Elections, Presidency, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 10:30 am on Monday, October 10, 2011

There was a lot of popular support for Bin Shamlan, but I have no idea if this is true. Even the level of violations documented by the EU observers made their declaration of a “mostly free and fair” election a farce.

Mohsen also says that Muhammed Sudam was kidnapped not as a reporter but as Saleh’s translator, in order to press for the release of 400 kidnapped by the National Security; although this was the way things were done for decades, and it may be the only thing Saleh understands, its not what should be done, at all.

Mareb Press : NYR | MasdarOnline | Major General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, commander of the First Armored Division and commander of the North-West military said that President Saleh did not win the 2006 elections.

Major General Ali Mohsen revealed during a meeting on Monday with reporters in Sana’a that Saleh threatened “to use aircrafts and tanks to prevent Faisal Bin Shamlan from entering the Presidential Palace” adding “I was part of all of Saleh’s election campaighns and I was surprised when he told me that the computer made a mistake and showed Bin Shamlan’s win, and then the computer was checked and Saleh was declared to be the winner.” (Read on …)

New lies from the world’s biggest liar

Filed under: Elections, Presidency, USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 7:12 am on Friday, May 20, 2011

Saleh the mass murderer says he want to avoid bloodshed.

(Reuters) – Yemen’s entrenched President Ali Abdullah Saleh called for early presidential elections in a speech to a pro-government rally Friday, though he gave no details on when or how the election would take place.

“We call for an early presidential election to prevent bloodshed … in a smooth and democratic way,” Saleh told a cheering crowd of supporters.

There’s a billion dollar counter-terrorism industry that is less profitable because bin Laden is dead. Many well paid bin Laden contractors need an enemy and a new money machine. Unfortunately, its that idiot Awlaki and AQAP. Maybe the whole thing really is about money. Obama certainly has no principles if he didn’t acknowledge the millions of Yemeni protesters and the hundreds who died for democracy, murdered by his friend Saleh. Beyond being stupid and counter-productive, ignoring the protesters is just rude.

US policy in Yemen is so bad that it appears they are deliberately trying to trigger a war. Maybe the CIA is laundering money through Saleh and directing some of the arms shipments. Maybe the US military knows that Saleh was involved in the USS Cole bombing and ordered some of the terror attacks on tourists, and kept working with him anyway. Maybe the State Department knew in 2005 that Saleh was diverting US CT aid to his jihad in Sa’ada, using chemical weapons and employing al Qaeda. Bush didn’t mention Yemen for eight years. Whatever is making Gates, Obama and Clinton crawl up Saleh’s ass now, its not the threat of AQAP, which US policy is heightening, and its not well intentioned concern for the fate of Yemen or the stability of the region. There’s a significant risk of a blood bath on Sunday, Unity Day, by the (US trained, funded and equipped) security forces, or by proxy, now that Saleh has the green light.

Elections in two months in Yemen a recipe for disaster

Filed under: Elections, GCC, Islah, Post Saleh, USA, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 2:38 pm on Friday, April 29, 2011

The voter rolls were disqualified a few months ago.

The official opposition is willing to provide immunity to Saleh and his gang, and give him a month to tie up loose ends. Most protesters continue to demand that Saleh leave immediately, while others think Sharia will solve everything, reports Nasser Arrabyee

Ahram: Yemen’s official opposition and President Ali Abdullah Saleh have agreed on a US-backed, Saudi-led, Gulf Cooperation Council plan to see Saleh step down in one month from signing. Wednesday was the date set by the GCC officials for the Yemeni conflicting parties to sign the plan in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Sources from both sides confirmed to Al-Ahram Weekly on Tuesday they would sign the agreement in Riyadh on Wednesday or Saturday at the latest. Earlier in the week, the Islamist-led opposition coalition, which includes socialists and Nasserites (Arab Nationalists), had refused to form a unity government with the ruling party before Saleh steps down, as called for in the plan. American Ambassador to Yemen Gerlad Feierstein convinced the opposition to agree on the plan as a whole. (Read on …)

Readout of Obama’s call to Yemen’s Saleh: security forces should refrain from violence

Filed under: Elections, Media, USA, aq statements, protests — by Jane Novak at 9:57 am on Friday, February 4, 2011

Normally I cant tell what the heck the US statements mean or what the real message is, but this seems pretty clear: don’t open fire on the protesters tomorrow and the promise to reform is nothing without action.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 03, 2011
Readout of President’s Call with President Saleh of Yemen

President Obama called President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen on February 2 to welcome the significant reform measures that President Saleh had announced earlier that day, and to stress that President Saleh now needs to follow-up his pledge with concrete actions. President Obama asked that Yemeni security forces show restraint and refrain from violence against Yemeni demonstrators who are exercising their right to free association, assembly, and speech. The President also told President Saleh that it is imperative that Yemen take forceful action against Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to protect innocent lives in Yemen as well as abroad. Finally, President Obama expressed concern over the release of Abd-Ilah al-Shai, who had been sentenced to five years in prison for his association with AQAP. President Saleh thanked the President for U.S. support and committed to continuing and strengthening relations with the United States.

Saleh’s version from DOD website

26 Sept: In his phone call to President Saleh, Obama praised the initiative President Saleh announced today that included several positive steps, mainly wise and significant reforms. (Read on …)

Yemeni people not hopeless enough to demand regime change: says JMP

Filed under: Elections, JMP, protests — by Jane Novak at 9:50 am on Tuesday, February 1, 2011

No? The protest on February 3 is the last stage of the first step. WTF? Its a unique historical moment and the JMP caved. Saleh’s regime wholeheartedly promised electoral reform in exchange for the JMP accepting the results of the flawed 2006 presidential election. Its five years later, and there’s no reform yet, but they believe the same empty promises? If the opposition leaders are not ever going to challenge the regime, they should become bakers or farmers. In Yemen, people call the JMP “the other face of the regime,” for good reason, and a recent public opinion survey showed nearly no confidence in their ability to represent popular demands. The JMP is toothless because it is enmeshed in the status quo. This is not a good faith miscalculation, its a sell-out. They should leave on the same plane as Saleh. Update: a good analysis of prospects for Yemen at the Media Line.

Yemen’s opposition seeks reforms not ouster of President Saleh, opposition leader says
By Nasser Arrabyee, 01/02/2011

The head of the opposition coalition said opposition in Yemen has not yet officially demanded the President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down like Egypt and Tunisia.

“The opposition has not arrived its final stage, and it is still demanding serious and genuine reforms,” said Mohammed Al Mutawakel, chairman of the supreme council of the Joint Meeting Parties, the coalition of the main opposition parties.

“When people become hopeless of genuine reforms, then demands for removal of the regime will be used like Egypt and Tunisia.” — “Thursday’s demonstrations will be the last thing of the first stage of our activities which we started in the mid of last January, to refuse all unilateral steps taken by the ruling party for holding elections and constitutional amendments,” said Mohammed Al Kubati, the spokesman of the opposition coalition, Joint Meeting Parties, JMPs. (Read on …)

Yemen’s continues preparations for unilateral elections

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:02 am on Monday, January 31, 2011

Lets see what Saleh slips in while the world’s attention is diverted.

Approval of organizational types for monitoring upcoming parliamentary elections Sunday, 30-January-2011 Almotamar.net – The Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) in Yemen has reviewed in its meeting on Sunday, presided by Judge Mohammed Hassan al-Hakimi the remarks related to results of works of the technical team assigned with implementation of the technical mechanism for correcting table of electors pursuant to article 144 of the law of general elections and referendum and its amendments. (Read on …)

Taiz, Yemen: US Ambassador visits and a pro-regime rally

Filed under: Elections, GPC, Taiz, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:27 pm on Sunday, January 9, 2011

The ambassador escaped the embassy again, this time to Taiz where he said something about the importance of consensus. I have no idea of whether the earlier statement urging negotiations was empty posturing or an actual policy statement. (After Ambassador Seche’s visit with al Ayyam in 2009, the paper was raided, shot up and Mr. Bashraheel locked up for months.) The GPC disregarded and condemned the earlier US statement that urged negotiation with the JMP instead of unilateral action. Instead they held a pro-regime rally in Taiz, after state employees were bussed in and threatened if they failed to attend. I’m sure some of the attendees were heartily pro-GPC.

US Ambassador: We will support fair and credible elections Sahwa Net – The Untied States ambassador to Sana’a Gerald Feierstein has affirmed that US support in Yemen is aimed at those provinces affected by terror and radicalization, and that they were trying to expand relief programs in order to address the state problems. (Read on …)

Yemen’s president: “The country is fine…”

Filed under: Elections, Presidency — by Jane Novak at 6:58 pm on Monday, January 3, 2011

1/3/11, Saleh remains delusional:

President Saleh.gov.ye MUKALA- President Ali Abdullah Saleh reiterated on Monday his call to the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs), topped by the Islah Party, to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections. (Read on …)

“Nine ministers resign from Mujawar Government” to run in the Parlimentary elections

Filed under: Elections, GPC, Ministries, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:40 am on Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Well that solves the al Alimi conundrum in a standard manner. Many government officials who are facing accusations are transferred to another government post. At the same time, many GPC MP’s hold multiple government posts including serving in the military at the same time as the serve in the Parliament. Usually its just a pay check as opposed to actual work.

Yemen Observer: Several Ministers have resigned from Mujawar’s government in preparation for running in the next parliamentary elections in April 27, 2011.

Ministers Rashad al-Alimi, Deputy Minister for Security Affairs, Sadeq Ameen Abu Rass, the General People’s Congress’ (GPC) Assistant General Secretary, Deputy Prime Minister for Internal Affairs, Engineer Awadh al-Soqatri, Minister of Electricity, Yahya al-Shuaibi, Minister of Civil Service and Insurance and Abdul-Rahman, al-Akwa Minister of State, Mayor of Sana’a, Hamoud Ubad, Minister of Youth, Nabil al-Faqih, Minister of Tourism, Mansour al-Hawshabi, Minister of Agriculture, and Ahmed al-kuhlani, Minister of State are the first ministers to announce their resignation from their positions hours after the declaration of the Supreme Elections Commission “HEC” demanding that those who occupy constitutional positions and wish to nominate themselves in the elections should leave their posts three months before the election date as provided by law.

Video: Riot police counter democracy protest in Yemen’s “Freedom Square”

Filed under: Civil Rights, Elections, photos — by Jane Novak at 7:19 am on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hopes of an authentic Yemeni democracy suffered a blow last week when a controversial new election law was approved by Parliament. The move triggered a protest by opposition MP’s in parliament as well as civil activists outside the building, where they were attacked by riot police. The following video was shot on December 14 and shows protesters chanting, “No to injustice, no to tyranny,” prior to an assault by riot police. The protest was organized by Women Journalists without Chains and brought together journalists, human rights activists as well as concerned citizens and opposition party members.

Following Yemen’s 2006 presidential election, the Joint Meeting Parties, the coalition of major opposition parties dropped its challenges to the election result (which predictable returned President Saleh to his throne) in return for an agreement to revise the election laws. The ruling GPC and the JMP agreed to a reform agenda that was largely in line with recommendations from the EU. One topic explicitly included was changing the voting method from “first past the post” to a proportional representation or list method. The current system gives a strong advantage to the ruling party and over the years has diminished the ability of opposition parties, minorities, independents and women to gain seats.

With no progress or meaningful negotiations concluded following the 2006 election, Yemen’s 2009 parliamentary elections were delayed until 2011 to allow time for meaningful negotiations. The two sides again failed to reach common ground or even hold prolonged discussions. The JMP termed the new law “a coup against democracy” and legal experts consider the law unconstitutional. The state’s unilateral decision to forsake consensus further undermines public trust in an already de-legitimized government and will increase instability.

Yemen’s opposition JMP pro-federalism, proportional representation

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Elections, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:54 pm on Monday, December 20, 2010

JMP takes stand against secession

Yemen Observer
Article Date: Dec 20, 2010 – 11:48:02 AM

The General Secretary of the Yemeni Socialist Party Yasin Saeed Noman said that their party calls for a federal state and rejects the call of the former party’s southern leaders Ali Salem al-Bidh, Abo Bakr al-Atas and Ali Nasser Mohammed who call for separating southern Yemen. (Read on …)

Poll of Yemenis voted in former elections: 92% of them voted with no pressures

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:27 am on Friday, December 17, 2010

That’s actually very good news. The Yemeni polling center is very professional and it is independent, so this is not some propaganda by the regime. This is a poll of voters, I’d like to see the figures in the south though.

Poll of Yemenis voted in former elections: 92% of them voted with no pressures
Wednesday, 15-December-2010 Almotamar.net – An opinion poll has revealed that more than 92% included in the poll said they had casted their votes in previous elections with full freedom and without any pressures by anyone. (Read on …)

Nasserite Deputy Sultan Alatwani Attacked, Beaten Hospitalized in Yemen

Filed under: Elections, JMP, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 10:26 am on Thursday, December 16, 2010

The state unilaterally passed an election law (in violation of both the 2006 and 2009 agreements with the opposition JMP). On Tuesday riot police were stationed around Freedom Square and the Parliament to thwar an public protests.

Al Sahwa: Senior opposition leader assaulted in Sana’a, 15/12/2010 –

Sahwa Net- Secretary-General of the Nasserite Unionist People’s Organization Sultan al-Atwani was attacked on Wednesday and taken immediately into hospital. (Read on …)

Yemen’s ruling party rams through illegal election law confiming inflated voter rolls

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Parliament — by Jane Novak at 12:21 pm on Sunday, December 12, 2010

I think every detail of the 2006 and 2009 agreements between the JMP and GPC has been violated.

Yemen Post The ruling party voted the new controversial election law amid the refusal of other parliamentary blocs to the vote, in a move that was described as a coup against all agreements between the General People’s Congress and the opposition topped by February 2009 deal. (Read on …)

Saleh: SCER from judges, trashes southern separatists as rabid dogs

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Judicial, Presidency, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:43 am on Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It is important to note that under current rules of voter eligibility, the 30,000 northern soldiers transferred to Aden and Abyan for the Gulf Cup would be allowed to vote in those governorates. One of the important electoral reforms that the EU observers recommended following the 2006 presidential election was to require military personnel and businessmen to vote in the district of their residence, and disallow place of employment as a domicile. None of the recommendations have been instituted although both the GPC and JMP agreed at the time. The failure of electoral reform led to the two year postponement of the parliamentary elections in 2009. The voter rolls contained many dead persons, children and more male voters than Yemeni men. Another area of disagreement with the JMP was the composition of the SCER, the oversight body for elections and referendums. Various western governments and organizations are pushing for the elections to be held on time in 2011, which would add a veneer of legitimacy to the Saleh regime and its designated representatives in Parliament.

SABA: ADEN, Nov. 30 (Saba) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh called on Tuesday for electing a new Supreme Committee for Election and Referendum (SCER) from the judicial authority. (Read on …)

Three oppositionists face death penalty for pre-electoral violence

Filed under: Elections, Islah, Presidency, political violence — by Jane Novak at 7:58 am on Sunday, November 21, 2010

THREE MEN AT IMMINENT RISK OF EXECUTION
Three men in Yemen had their death sentences sent to the President for ratification in mid-October. If the sentences are ratified by the President, they could be executed at any time.

Amnesty International: The three men, Shaikh Khalid Nahshal, Mabkhout ‘Ali Nahshal and Abduh Muhammad Nahshal, were among 32 people charged in connection with the killing of at least one government official in the district of Khayran in northern Yemen in September 2006. This happened following a dispute over the local and presidential elections and an exchange of fire between a group of armed men and the government official in charge of Khayran. In 2007 six of the defendants were sentenced to death, but three had their sentences commuted to prison terms in June 2009, following an appeal. The remaining 26 received prison sentences. In January 2010, Shaikh Khalid Nahshal, Mabkhout ‘Ali Nahshal and Abduh Muhammad Nahshal had their death sentences upheld by the Supreme Court.

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