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.

Yemen’s Ruling Party to Hold Unilateral Parliamentary Elections

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:16 pm on Monday, November 1, 2010

Its the perfect day to make this announcement, now that AQAP sucked all the air out of the room. The elections in 2009 were delayed for two years because no progress had been made on electoral reform since 2006’s presidential election.

Yemen Post: The ruling Party General People’s Congress GPC has made known that parliamentary elections will take place on April 27th next year after the failure of dialogue with the main opposition parties, the Joint Meeting Parties JMP, official media reported on Monday. (Read on …)

JMP withdraws from Parliament and suspends participation in national dialog

Filed under: Elections, JMP, Reform — by Jane Novak at 11:33 am on Friday, October 1, 2010

al Sahwa: Sahwa Net- Yemen’s main opposition parties, the Joint Meeting Parties, have called for an urgent meeting to discuss obstacles that stand before an inclusive national dialogue.

In an exceptional meeting, JMP approved suspension of their participation in what is called the 30-participant committee, made up from members of the ruling party and opposition parties, until a clear decision is taken to remove all hurdles that impede the national dialogue. (Read on …)

Updated: The same clerics who threatened jihad on US now part of national dialog

Filed under: Dammaj, Elections, Presidency, Religious — by Jane Novak at 7:13 pm on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update: And members of the Commission as announced by the President consisting of “Sheikh Abdel Majid al-Zindani, Judge Ahmed Mohammed al-Shami, Mohammed Ismail, Urban, and Hussein Mohammed Hadar, and Ali Baruiz, Ahmed Bamwalim, Mohammed Ali Marei, Abdul Malik minister, Omar Bin Hafeez, Nasser al-Shaibani, Abdullah Bahermz “.

OP: The JMP already discounted and disowned them as part of the dialog. Saleh is stressing the importance of grounding the discussion in religious legitimacy. Meanwhile the scholars position has been that opposition to Saleh is illegitimate under Islamic law. Al Masiri, the Salafi head of the Dar al Hadieth institute in Marib, said as much on TV during a rally during the 2006 presidential campaign

President receives dialog reference scholars committee SANA’A, Sep. 21 (Saba) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh met here on Tuesday with the scholars committee formed early in September as a reference for the national issues, including the national dialog. (Read on …)

Not the SCER Again!

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:16 pm on Monday, August 16, 2010

This is the same issue that brought the 2009 Parliamentary elections to a stand still. The SCER oversees the elections and election monitors and the electoral list (which in 2006 contained more male voters than men). The JMP asserted the positions on the SCER should be split between the JMP and GPC, but the regime said judges were good candidates for the positions and nominated its list, rubber stamped by parliament. The JMP is getting hemmed in the issue of the proportional list, which it favors, by international pressure just to do something that looks like an election. YObserver:

The Supreme Commission For Elections and Referendum (SCER) endorsed on Monday the schedule for the upcoming parliamentary elections set in April, which the Yemeni opposition considered “contrary” to the agreements of the “national dialogue” that began last Saturday. (Read on …)

Political Parties in Yemen Begin Dialog

Filed under: Civil Society, Elections, GPC, JMP, Political Parties — by Jane Novak at 4:24 pm on Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Apparently they widened the scope of the discussions beyond electoral reforms to include other national issues.

Yemen Observer: Yemeni political parties started Saturday their first meeting for national dialogue over political and electoral reforms before the coming parliamentary elections scheduled in April 2011. (Read on …)

NDC’s Mohamed Salem Basendwah Withdraws from GPC-JMP Dialog on Electoral Reform

Filed under: Civil Society, Elections, GPC, JMP — by Jane Novak at 10:54 am on Saturday, July 31, 2010

The head of the bipartisan and inclusive National Dialog Committee withdrew from the National Dialog announced by the ruling GPC and opposition JMP where each submitted a list of 100 representatives. Bassandawa is urging dialog to be held under international auspices and address the full range of Yemen’s national crisis including consideration of a federal system. He seems to think the opposition caved to regime and international pressures which prioritize agreement on the (already postponed) Parliamentary elections in 2011 ahead of comprehensive national reform. Bassandawa is “convinced of the futility” of any discussions where the ruling party seeks only agreement on electoral reforms not the fundamental crises that face the nation. He also urges inclusion of all national forces including the southerners and opposition abroad. The Houthis for their part have said their participation is conditional on approving the terms and scope of the dialog, which they have yet to see.

Al Masdar The Chairman announced that preparations for national dialogue Mohamed Salem Bassandawa boycott of the dialogue sessions with the Authority and the ruling party, on condition to participate in the dialogue to be sponsored by regional, Arab and international.

وكان حزب المؤتمر الشعبي الحاكم وتكتل اللقاء المشترك وقعا أمس الخميس على محضر تبادل أسماء ممثلي الطرفين في اللجنة المشتركة للإعداد والتهيئة للحوار الوطني، وتضم القائمتان مائة عضو لكل طرف، وبين قائمة المشترك باسندوة. The Popular Congress Party, the ruling bloc, signed a joint meeting on Thursday to record the exchange of names of representatives of the parties in the Joint Commission for the preparation and configuration of the national dialogue, and lists, which contain a hundred members of each party, and the list of common Basendwah.

وفي تصريحات لـ”المصدر أونلاين” من العاصمة الأردنية عمان التي يتواجد فيها حالياً قال باسندوة ان “الانتخابات تحتل المرتبة الأولى في اهتمام الحزب الحاكم وليس إيجاد حل للأزمات التي تعصف بالبلاد”. In statements to “online source” of the Jordanian capital Amman, where there are currently Bassandawa said that “the elections is ranked first in the interest of the ruling party and not find a solution to crises that racked country.” (Read on …)

Tawwakol Karaman, Ahmed Saif Hashid and Abdel Taher Resign from Prepatory Committee because it is undemocratic, not transparent and all they do is talk

Filed under: Civil Society, Elections, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:27 am on Thursday, June 3, 2010

My God, there might be a shred of hope yet. They say that the only accomplishment of the National Dialog Committee (NDC) is an extremely long document that talks about democracy, but the NDC doesn’t practice democracy internally and they have not set up democratic structures. Their financial accounting is not transparent. All they do is hold seminars and issue papers. They haven’t connected with or mobilized the people or gotten their input.

I wrote something like that, very small, two sentences, when I wrote the article announcing the NDC statement and website. And its true. The political parties are just as authoritarian as the regime and while they face risks, there’s no risk in having a regular transfer of power or financial transparency. They could model democracy but they don’t.

Subject: resignation from membership of the Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue.

We are pleased and we put between your hands resignations this to assure you in the beginning not to dispute personal to us with one invited us to make, as far as our protest on the work of the Commission and the management mechanism and its decision-making, and the occurrence of what we fear the conversion of the Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue to an entity which alternative will be built on the ruins of the parties At the forefront of the political parties of the joint meeting as well as all other civilian components, thus giving a personal project for a small entity is a mixture civilian and non-political.

Dear Brothers:

I have disappointed all expectations in the contribution of the preparatory committee for national dialogue in the work of the mobility and the popular uprising, a real turn off collapse and the imposition of the political reform agenda to the Governor, but in practice did not do anything as far as has turned to the phenomenon of audio information contented itself with holding seminars and issuing statements, she turned as well as to comedy and brake components of the struggles of the political parties and civil society organizations and social figures, and public.

We have seen too .. That this Committee does not pay attention to all democratic principles and standards to be observed in organizations and political alliances, the recycling league office and free circulation to the presidency of the Committee and its committees and its Secretariat. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Ruling Party Designates Winners before Local Elections

Filed under: Elections, GPC, Local gov   — by Jane Novak at 9:50 am on Monday, May 10, 2010

The local councils re-elected their leaderships as directed by the GPC; the “independents” are largely GPC members running against other GPC members. In the one election where Islah won, the results have been disputed by the state. Its a total farce. The same thing happened during the governors’ elections. The local councils were told who to elect, and the results were overturned in the one case where the outcome was different. This course is the problem with “federalism” as a solution for Yemen’s over-centralization. Stats below.

Yemen Observer: The local election of al-Sabeen directorate in the capital Sana’a was postponed until Thursday, following objection by the some local members, requesting to remain anonymous.

The election, held on Wednesday all over Yemen, was to elect current members to the secretary general posts and to some specialized committees at the local and municipal level…The members, all of them from the General People’s Congress (GPC) party, said that they rejected the election as high senior officials, including members of GPC, had been putting pressure on them to re-elect the previous members. (Read on …)

Parliamentary Election to Go Ahead Using Unfair Mechanisms

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:32 am on Monday, May 3, 2010

Yemen announces Parliamentary elections will proceed although no reforms have been implemented. The Yemeni opposition argues that the system is procedurally unfair. After the 2006 elections, the EU monitoring mission came up with a list of improvements that would level the playing field, and both sides agreed in theory. However, discussions stalled, and the February 2009 Parliamentary elections were postponed for two years to allow more time for reaching a consensus. No discussions occurred. The JMP insisted that political prisoners be released prior to talks, stating the atmosphere of threats and intimidation poisoned negotiations before they started. The international community called the 2006 elections “mostly free and fair” but numerous irregularities occurred which would have negated the outcome in any democratic country. Protests are continuing in South Yemen, and violence escalating. The international monitors failed to note that leaders in the southern regions called for a boycott of the 2006 Presidential election, and many eligible voters did not go to the polls. Intimidation and ballot stuffing was widespread around the country. The number of registered male voters exceed the number of men in Yemen by several hundred thousand.

The National: “The election will be conducted in its due time without any delay. We have made a mistake in postponing the election and the JMP [Joint Meeting Parties] is to be blamed for that,” Mr Saleh said during a speech on Saturday at a ceremony marking International Labour Day…“I do not know what democracy is this … the opposition parties should have demanded that elections should be run in its due course of time or earlier. But [these] parties are calling for the postponement of the election. Why the worries? Let us be in the command of the balloting boxes,” Mr Saleh said.

Mr Saleh said the dialogue with the JMP should focus on implementing the February agreement and forming a committee to oversee the election process as well as granting more power to the local elected representatives.

“Any dialogue beyond these issues is rejected. Let them dialogue with themselves,” Mr Saleh said, referring to the demands of the JMP to release Southern Movement activists, stop the use of government media to attack them and end the harassment of democracy activists.

Yemen’s Political Parties Reach New Agreement

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP — by Jane Novak at 6:57 am on Thursday, April 22, 2010

That’s big. The Parliamentary elections are scheduled for next year, and the ruling party and the JMP have been at an impasse on the reforms. The terms of the agreement are still unknown, even to their memberships. The opposition had held its first round of demonstrations in Sana’a and other cities recently.

Nationally, the Sa’ada war is over for now, and the Houthis are in discussions with the National Dialog Committee. Saleh was in Egypt talking to the “moderate” southerners and Fadhli had already reached an individual truce with the authorities. The main organized outlier is still the pro-independence southerners.

Ruling Party, Opposition Sign Deal for February Agreement

The General People’s Congress, the ruling party, the Joint Meeting Parties JMP, an opposition coalition in Yemen, have signed an amended minute on the February Agreement 2009 on the upcoming parliamentary elections, the News Yemen citing sources at the JMP reported on Thursday.

The deal was signed at the house of political advisor for President Saleh Abdul Karim Al-Eryani, the sources which gave no details were quoted as saying.

The two sides signed in February 2009 an agreement under which the parliamentary election was delayed until 2010 to have enough time to implement electoral reforms.

But later, disagreements over and commitment to the deal emerged with the two trading accusations of violating it. Wednesday’s minute comes as a good sign amid alarming political stalemate and deteriorating economy and security situations.

“Turn Out was Low and Rigging was Large,” Yemeni Election Overturned Again

Filed under: Dharmar, Elections, Taiz, Yemen, al Dhalie, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 10:12 am on Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Poor al Jawf. This was the governorate where the local council voted its conscience in the governor’s election, and elected an independent. The results were promptly thrown out, the GPC’s candidate installed and the actual winner given a far off post just to get him out of the governorate. In this election, a popular vote, the polls were closed when it appeared the GPC’s candidate was losing. So much for changing your government through peaceful means…

Yemen Post: Two people have been killed and seven others injured in the violence that accompanied complementary elections for vacant parliamentary seats in some of Yemen’s 21 provinces. (Read on …)

Violence Impedes Staged Elections in Sa’ada and Dhalie

Filed under: Elections, Parliament, Sa'ada — by Jane Novak at 12:27 pm on Friday, December 4, 2009

The veneer of legitimacy is wearing thin. AFP

SANAA — A shootout erupted on Thursday at a separatist rally in southern Yemen, killing one civilian, while a senior police officer was injured in clashes in a neighbouring province, witnesses and police said. (Read on …)

JMP’s al Sa’adi: There is no good will

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Elections, Islah, JMP, political violence — by Jane Novak at 7:32 am on Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This is a very interesting interview at the Yemen Post with Mohammed Al-Sa’adi
Assistant Secretary General of Islah Party, and not just because of al Saadi’s charcterization of the official media. At the same time the JMP produced a 90 page document on a national rescue plan:

Abdul Baset Al-Qaedi: The crisis is inflicting the country from its north to south together with an economic crisis, while the opposing Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) passively acts. Are you waiting for the regime’s collapse to be the alternative?

Mohammed Al-Sa’adi: I think you need to reconsider your vision. What is lost in people’s judgment is the objectivity. As a responsible person in JMP, let me tell you that we do bear the national concern. This is evidenced by the national vision proposed by JMP in which the situation of Yemen at different levels is diagnosed and solutions are put forward.

AQ: Some say that JMP is pushing towards complicating the situation in order to be the alternative?
MS: The ruling party is weak. Solutions provided in the past are no more effective. We have selected the best ways through which the peaceful transfer of power can be made including elections. We are trying to follow electoral channels and mechanisms which lead to a peaceful transfer of power. (Read on …)

JMP Suspends Dialog with GPC on Electoral Reforms

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Reform — by Jane Novak at 9:42 pm on Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Yemen Observer is usually more nuanced than the other stooge papers in spreading the regime’s propaganda, but this is the last line of the following article: All know that there is no political prisoner in Yemen and that those behind bars are those who committed acts and practices violating the law.

Anyway the YO article says the JMP formally announced the suspension of dialog with the GPC. (The JMP spokesperson Naif al-Qanis was later threatened with death in a car “accident” if he didn’t resign his post.)

Yemen may have seen its last election under the Saleh regime.

YEMEN – The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) decided to officially suspend their dialogue with the General People’s Congress (GPC) until their demands are met, the war in Sa’adah is stopped, and all confrontations and conflicts in southern and eastern governorates are settled, said the JMP spokesperson. (Read on …)

22.000 Ballot Boxes for Sale in Yemen

Filed under: Elections, Parliament — by Jane Novak at 11:30 am on Sunday, April 26, 2009

Also Parliament postpones vote on extending it’s term. The discussions on the constitutional ammendments on the proportional list etc. are in their infancy. It would be nice to rationalize the electoral system but hard to imagine it will occur. Nothing happened after the 2006 presidential election when there was a explicit agreement to reform and international input. If I were to lay odds, it would go 50% that a few minor revisions occur within the two year window, 20% chance of real reform and 30% that Yemen doesn’t see another election within the decade.

al Sahwa – Yemeni citizens were surprised on Saturday as they saw persons sell ballot boxes belonging to the Supreme Commission of Elections and Referendum. One seller said that he along with his friends vended some 22.000 boxes at various markets in Sana’a. He further pointed out that the demand of purchasing ballot boxes increase , particularly by farmers.

15K Double Registered Voters Banned from Voting

Filed under: Elections, Reform, Yemen-Election, Yemen-Statistics — by Jane Novak at 12:26 pm on Sunday, April 5, 2009

Amran is where the two YSP leaders (and the baby) were assassinated.


Thousands sentenced for Yemen vote fraud
DPA/Sanaa

Courts in Yemen’s western province of Amran have sentenced 14,522 people to suspended three-month jail terms each for registering to vote multiple times, the state Saba news agency reported yesterday. (Read on …)

Yemeni Journalist Syndicate Election Contentious

Filed under: Civil Rights, Elections, Media, Unions — by Jane Novak at 10:23 pm on Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Update: Yemen Times

In the last minutes of the nomination process, three candidates for the chairperson position withdrew, decreasing the total number of candidates to five. All five of these nominees work with government media establishments as every opposition newspaper and independent candidate withdrew. Two of the five candidates standout: Dr. Raufa Hassan, university professor and director of an NGO, and Yaseen Al-Masoudi from Al-Thawra state run newspaper.

If elected, Dr. Raufa Hassan will be the first woman to chair the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate. She emphasized the necessity of meeting the journalists’ demands. “I will take it upon me to achieve the recommendations which the fourth conference for journalists will bring about,” she said.

Original Post: The last head of the YJS was the head of the state news agency SABA and was a total tool. The regime’s choice for this term is the vice at al Thawra, and there is a lot of contention about the regime’s strong arming the union to select and “elect” its candidate. (See Almotamar.net article for regime endorsement.) The non-governmental journalists are concerned with several important issues as the following Yemen Times oped explains:

Political parties are focusing their attention these days on the upcoming Yemen Journalists Syndicate (YJS) general assembly meeting to elect a new board and chairman. Being the most effective and important civil society organization, both tae ruling party and opposition have been conducting intensive meetings, trying to mobilize journalists to vote for their candidates. The ruling party, in particular, has been mustering journalists working for the state-run media to vote for a selected list representing the party. Heads of these media outlets have used their positions to influence their journalists to vote for a specific group of journalists. This demonstrates how these parties are keen to control the YJS and manipulate it to serve their own political agenda.
(Read on …)

Yemen: Neighborhood Security Informants Aid Voter Registration

Filed under: Elections, Security Forces, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:45 am on Friday, March 6, 2009

Every village has a security informant, might as well give them a task. Also NDI discusses the military domicile issue.

NDI For male registrants who are unable to provide one of these four forms of identification, the election law stipulates that an
amin or aqel2 may testify to the registering voter’s identity and eligibility.

2 The Amin or Aqel is a male dignitary who resides in each precinct and is normally associated with the security services, providing them with reports on major events in the neighborhood.

Registration of Ineligible Persons
As in 2002 and 2006, monitors observed significant numbers of underage children being registered to vote. Nearly 40 percent of field commissioners told monitors that they would register underage voters if directed by the amin/aqel (those persons responsible for attesting as to the eligibility of citizens who lacked identity documents). Monitors witnessed amins/aqels testifying that clearly underage voters were of-age to register, and in some instances observed amins/aqels accepting payment in exchange for their testimony. Monitors also observed other community leaders pressuring commissioners to register ineligible voters, including underage voters, voters without any identification and, in once instance, those without Yemeni citizenship.

Role of the Security Committee and Military
Monitors reported witnessing security personnel in some areas interfering in the work of the registration committees. In some instances security personnel gave instructions to committee members on which voters to register and allowed registering voters to carry weapons into the registration centers. In addition, monitors reported seeing large numbers of military personnel bused to
registration centers, the majority of whom were changing their voting domicile. While the impact of high numbers of military registrations in select districts cannot be determined, the registrations could give the impression that military personnel are being used to influence voter demographics in specific constituencies and could be in violation of Article 4:f of the election law.

Dr. Al Iryani

Filed under: Biographies, Elections, GPC, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:24 am on Friday, February 27, 2009

Yemen Online is “associated with” al Iryani as we know, so here he is as McBeth, really:

The True Picture of GPC and JMP negotiations and the role Dr. Al-Iryani played. YemenOnline exclusive. – Negotiations between the General People’s Congress GPC and the Joint meeting Parties JMP has been conducted for quite sometime while the political street awaited a solution.

YemenOnline exclusively reports what was going on behind the scenes regarding Yemen democratic experience.

The picture:

1) During the meeting of the General Committee of the General People’s Congress, Dr. Al-Iryani shows his objection, saying” Democracy is not Solo, and the International Community will not acknowledge elections carried out without the participation of the opposition parties.” (Read on …)

Election Postponed

Filed under: Civil Rights, Elections, GPC, JMP, Political Opposition, Political Parties, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:53 pm on Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lets see what happens. The odds are 87% (96%?) in the favor of the Yemeni government going the smoke and mirrors route, like with the governors “elections”. However, even grudging reforms are still reforms. The JMP has a lot of work to do internally.

Yemen Online

Yemen: Provisions of the agreement between GPC and JMP.
YemenOnline. Feb 25 – After several dialogues that the President called for between representatives of the General People’s Congress GPC and the Joint Meeting Parties JMP represented in the Council, and given the requirements of the national interest in carrying out free, fair and secure elections under a favorable political environment in which all political spectrums participate, all of the political parties represented in the Parliament hereinafter undersigned – the General People’s Congress, Islah Party, the Yemeni Socialist Party, the Unionist Nasserite People Party and the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party – request from the Parliament Presidency to take necessary constitutional procedures to amend Article 65 of the Constitution related to the Parliament duration in accordance with the law, allowing the extension period of the present Parliament for two years due to the lack of sufficient time for implementing the following reforms:

Firstly, parties, political organizations and civil society organizations should be given the opportunity to carry out the constitutional amendments necessary for the development of the political and electoral systems, including the Quota.

Secondly, the political parties represented in the Parliament should be enabled to complete the discussion of topics that have not been agreed upon during the preparation of amendments to the electoral law and integrating what was agreed upon at the heart of law.

Thirdly, the Higher Committee of Elections and Referendum be reconstructed as provided by law.

Yemeni Opposition Parties Refuse Unfair Election System

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, USA — by Jane Novak at 8:20 am on Thursday, February 19, 2009

There we go, a good articulation of the parties’ grievences and goals. And they are quite right, the system is stacked against them. The parties have been repeatedly and badly victimized by a variety of state organs following a political agenda. However, they are not inspiring any great confidence in their ability to lead by following the same authoritarian paradigms internally as a coalition and individually as parties. Hamid talks tough but there was that interval where no one knew where he stood.

Yemen Times: SANA’A, Feb. 15—The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) last Thursday reiterated its rejection of ruling party General People’s Congress (GPC) preparations towards the parliamentary elections scheduled for next April, calling the elections “illegal”.

The JMP said in a statement circulated during a press conference held at Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) premises that “the one-sided preparations are an aggression against the people’s rights to take part in free and credible elections. Therefore, there is neither value nor legitimacy for these elections and their results.”

The statement reviewed repressive measures against the opposition, including seizing YSP funds, and taking control of the Al-Shura newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Union of Popular Power, and its central office.

The government and its ruling party seized finances belonging to Al-Ba’th party, imposed a complete prohibition on Al-Haq party, fired members of the opposition from their jobs and aims to conduct elections amid dangerous national splits in the country, including problems in the south and consequences of the Sa’ada war, according to the statement. (Read on …)

Sons of Yemen to Boycott Parliamentary Election

Filed under: Elections, Political Opposition, Political Parties — by Jane Novak at 10:03 am on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Before the 2006 election several expats returned from Saudi Arabia at the urging of Field Marshal Saleh. One was al Jifri, head of RAY, who diligently worked the last several years to create reforms by coordinating with the government. I believe their position on the SCER was that judges should be fine and a better alternative than party loyalists no matter what the ratio. The fact that the RAY party is now boycotting the election after such sustained efforts is another indication that the regime cannot reform, only placate in response to pressure.

Field Marshal Saleh could do good things if sufficiently motivated but it never happens. The ploy happens, the propaganda happens, the promises happen, the half measures. Just looking at the water issue shows how far out of touch Saleh is with reality or perhaps the fact that his immediate concerns do not include the dire national water emergency. Qat, the population explosion, hunger, education, unemployment, the medical crisis, economic diversification, the national budget, none of these are at the top of the list. These are inter-related issues but not intractable. There are very good solutions that have never been robustly implemented across the board. No will, no capacity. But then again this is a dictator who bombs his own civilians. Its a shame.

al Sahwa A Yemeni political Party , the Yemeni Sons’ League party (RAY) , has officially announced its boycott of the up-coming parliamentary lections which is due to be held in June, referring its boycott to the absence of a real participation in Yemen.

The political impasse in Yemen is still remaining as the ruling party , the General People Congress and the main opposition parties alliance , the Joint Meeting Parties, have not made compromises to allow the vote to proceed . GPC is pushing to hold the election in time , but JMP demands to make a set of amendments to the election law.

Obama Website Interview with Ambassador Seche on Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, Elections, GPC, Political Parties, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:21 am on Friday, January 23, 2009

Well, I must say I nearly fell of my chair when I saw this interview (Yemeni Policians Must Compromise for Sake of Elections) with Ambassador Seche on America. gov, (the newly redesigned White House website), before I even read it.

Just the fact that Yemeni issues were being acknowledged within 48 hours of the ascension of President Obama was rather refreshing. Between 2003 and 2007, there were very few public statements on Yemen. It was like a black hole. Yemen didn’t even make the list of countries in the speeches about the Middle East. So this, in and of itself, is good.

I’m always rather hard on the US, that’s my job as a citizen and a journalist. At the same time, as I’ve recently been discussing elsewhere, no one has to wait for US policy to change in order to be democratic. There are many amazing and couragous persons in Yemen peacefully battling for the improvement of their nation. They fight for their children’s future, and maybe that’s where they get the astounding fortitude. They are the do-ers. They pay the price and are deserving of all respect. However, there are very few Yemeni organizations, parties or groups that adhere internally to the principles of democratic representation, transparency, accountability and the systematic transfer of power.

The head of one reformist organization, which shall remain nameless, appointed family members to leadership positions. That makes a mockery of the whole cry for reform. This is not a call for progress, its musical chairs. The talented and hard working people are still excluded. They have little opportunity to give their full measure to society because they have no access to power, across the board.

Democracy is a personal commitment to equality, even when you come up on the short end and lose privileges and advantages. There is nothing stopping the political parties in Yemen, the reform movements and civil society organizations from implementing democratic structures and practices. The whining about US policy (and the regime) is a tad tiresome in the absence of demonstrable commitment on the part of the complainers to the principles they are advocating.

Waiting to be saved is a long, long wait for any people and any nation. Passing the time chewing qat may make life more bearable but it doesn’t make anything better. Anyway, without further ado (was that enough ado?), here’s Ambassador Seche’s interview in full, which I will focus on in more depth in another post because, as you may expect, I have a few comments on the substance as well as the timing and the context.

Washington — With uncertainty surrounding Yemen’s proposed April parliamentary elections, the U.S. ambassador in Sana’a urges the governing and opposition parties to make compromises to allow the vote to proceed and give Yemen’s people the opportunity to express their will “freely and fairly.”

Yemen’s political parties are engaged in a “protracted dispute” over elements of the election such as voter registration, membership on the country’s Supreme Council for Elections and Referenda (SCER) and other procedural disagreements.

“This is disappointing to everyone who has watched Yemen in recent years,” U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche told America.gov. Until recently, the country had been building “a pretty good track record in terms of its commitment to democratic processes, including elections,” he said. He urged politicians to “look beyond narrowly defined party interests and make the necessary compromises, so that the people of this country have the opportunity to go to the polls and participate in a process that they can be proud of.” (Read on …)

EU Concerned About Postponement of Local Elections

Filed under: Donors, UN, Elections, Local gov, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:46 am on Thursday, December 18, 2008

Saleh decided not to hold local elections, by fiat. The local councils are the ones that elect the governors now, although those indirect gubenatorial elections were pre-rigged and, where an unexpected result occured, over-turned.

SANA’A, NewsYemen

The European Union said it strongly supports the democratic process in Yemen and expresses its concern at certain recent developments, including the postponement of local elections for four years.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Council of European Union said the postponement may be interpreted as signs of deterioration in the political dialogue between the various stakeholders in Yemen.

The European Union calls on all sides to seek a consensus on the basis of the agreements reached between the various political parties along the lines of the recommendations put forward by the 2006 electoral observation mission, said the statement.

The European Union’s statement urges all political sides in Yemen to “take the path of peaceful coexistence in a spirit of constructiveness, with the aim of arriving at a compromise and a transparent and democratic consensus in order that democracy in Yemen can be strengthened.”

The EU confirms its willingness to consider sending a new electoral observation mission to Yemen for the parliamentary elections in the spring of 2009.

Yemen’s Ruling Party Spent YR 60 Bil Public Funds in 2003 Elections

Filed under: Corruption, Elections, GPC, Parliament, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:42 am on Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kudos to IFES for speaking plainly. Yemen Post

The ruling party allocated almost YR 60 billion to buy votes in the 2003 parliamentary elections in an attempt to increase its election opportunities in Parliament, an international expert specialized in the election affairs said.

Chief expert of political finance at the International Foundation for Election Systems IFES Dr. Marshen Walky, however, expressed regret over using such sum in what he described as political and electoral corruption while the sum was rather to used to implement infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads.

He said that a report by the IDEA Organization on democracy building in Yemen revealed that the ruling party in Yemen had allocated between YR 40-60 billion during the 2003 elections to buy votes.

At a press conference in Sana’a on Wednesday Walky said though the Yemeni election law bans buying electoral votes and using the public funds in elections, there is no observation or control of the spending of public funds on electoral campaigns.

He likened Yemeni legislations to Swiss cheese full of holes.

He urged that candidates must exercise transparency to disclose resources to fund their electoral campaigns.

Walky said political corruption linked to financing electoral campaigns is a threat to the whole development and the development of democracy in particular in any country as some businessmen endorse candidates in return these businessmen can ensure they can get back what they paid for electoral campaigns through obtaining contracts and investment tenders through winning candidates they endorse.

Walky brought up the misuse of the public funds during elections saying that international monitors judged the electoral process in 2006 was not totally fair due to exclusive use of public funds.

He said the EU mission, which observed the 2006 local and presidential elections in Yemen, found out that many officials used the country’s resources such as buildings, cars and ceremonies to succeed their electoral campaigns.

Walky said changing the electoral system will not solve the problem of political corruption; however, he said the Party-List system is the best solution to restrict buying votes, even if it will not tackle the problem completely.

He urged media to play a vital role in establishing awareness to curb illegal spending of candidates so that only efficient and right winners come to power.

(Read on …)

US Calls for Yemeni Parties to Return to Dialog

Filed under: Elections, Political Parties, USA — by Jane Novak at 5:16 pm on Monday, December 15, 2008

Sincere dialog from both sides in the best interests of the Yemeni public would be refreshing.

Press Statement
Robert Wood, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 15, 2008

Yemen: Parliamentary Elections

We welcome the upcoming Parliamentary elections in Yemen as an opportunity for the Yemeni people to renew their democratic institutions and processes. It is important for the integrity of the election process that preparations proceed in a fair and transparent manner, untainted by violence and accusations of misconduct.

We are concerned that the lack of consensus and cooperation between the principal political parties in Yemen puts the successful execution of the elections at risk. Moreover, it contributes to a perception that neither the ruling nor opposition parties are prepared to make the concessions necessary to ensure that the citizens of Yemen are able to express their political will in a free and transparent election.

We call on all political parties in Yemen to return immediately to dialogue to reach a consensus on the procedures for the upcoming parliamentary elections that are consistent with recommendations made by international elections observers in 2006. All Yemeni political parties share the responsibility to participate in the democratic process and to find a consensus to allow the elections to proceed in a manner that will reflect Yemen’s commitment to democracy. We look forward to a spirited campaign season, overseen by the responsible offices of the Supreme Council for Elections and Referenda in an orderly and transparent manner.

2008/1052

Released on December 15, 2008

Demonstrations in Ibb, Yemen

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Elections, JMP, Yemen, photos/gifs — by Jane Novak at 12:23 am on Monday, December 1, 2008

9900_11_30_2008IBB.jpg

Yemen Post: Many demonstrations were held in various districts of Ibb province in protest against what protestors claim is the election expropriation and the coup against democracy.

Thousands of people rallied in the Thi Sufal district, Al-Qaeda city, denouncing the government’s measures to tackle the economic and political crises the country is experiencing. At the rally, Abdul Salam al-Khadiri delivered the speech of the Opposition’s Party Coalition, Joint Meeting Parties JMP, in which he said the gathering came as a result of the state’s deteriorating conditions in the country and that it was evidence for the sense of national responsibility.

He called on what he labeled as the ruling party wise men to put the country’s interests ahead of their own and narrow party interests. However, the gathering’s communiqué affirmed the importance of the public alignment to pull the country out of devastating policies created by the current government and the ruling party. The statement said standing differences will not be tackled except by a peaceful transition of power as well as fair, transparent and free elections.

Electoral Analysis: Yemen’s Parliamentary Elections

Filed under: Elections, Parliament, Yemen, reports — by Jane Novak at 11:56 pm on Saturday, November 29, 2008

SANA’A, NewsYemen

The Democracy Reporting International (DRI), in cooperation with the Human Rights Information and Training Center (HRITC), released on Wednesday a report comprehensively assessing the electoral framework of Yemen. The report highlighted some shortcomings in the electoral system in Yemen and offered recommendations in light of the current political crisis between the ruling part and opposition. Here is an excerpt of the report:
The 2009 Elections: A Potential Step Backwards?

Elections for the 301 seats in parliament as well as local elections for 21 governorate councils and the 333 district councils are scheduled for April 2009. A new electoral commission has been appointed and election preparations are already underway yet there is still no political agreement on the rules for the election. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Security Beats Prominent Journalists and Activists During Protest

Filed under: Elections, Media, Security Forces — by Jane Novak at 6:31 pm on Thursday, November 27, 2008

sanaanov272008.jpg

Sahwa Net

Several journalists and activists were attacked by Yemen’s security on Thursday while they were trying to cover a massive rally calling for a boycott of up-coming parliamentary elections.

During the protest, journalists including Saeed Thabit , the deputy chairman of the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate, Twakol Karman, chair of Women Journalists Without Borders organization, Abdul-Star Bajash , editing manager of News Yemen website , Abdu Aish , a correspondent of Aljazeera.net , and Saleh al-Soraimi, a correspondent of Sahwa Net , all were violated and beaten.

Furthermore, chairman of Teacher Syndicate Ahmed al-Rabhil along with dozens activists and opposition supporters were arrested. Over 20 protestors were wounded including four critically in the protest which was faced live bullets and batons.

An Interior Ministry official said the troops fired into the air to disperse the “illegal” demonstration in the capital San’a, but he refused to comment on any injuries. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. (Read on …)

One Million New Voters Registered in Yemen: SCER

Filed under: Elections — by Jane Novak at 7:25 pm on Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Voter list amendment phase comes off

SANA’A, Nov.26 (Saba) – The Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum SCER said that the phase of revision and amendment of the voter lists largely succeeded .

In this regard, the electoral subcommittees across the republic finished Tuesday evening the 15-day process.

The head of the Electoral Information and Awareness Division at the SCER Mr. Abdu Mohammed al-Janadi said the number of the newly registered voters reached 1.118.941 from both males and females according to the initial statistics, indicating that the field reports are still incoming to the SCER .

Mr. al-Janadi stressed that the numbers of new voters in the voters’ lists remarkably came in accordance with the estimates specified by the SCER’s statistical studies.

He pointed out that the invitation to boycott registration committees was a punctilio invitation and appeared only in media.

The number of stalled registration centers fell below the 100 centers during the last two days, al-Jundi said.

On the other side, head of the supervising committee in Saada province Mr. Ahmed al-Adwal mentioned that the numbers of new voters in the province reached 4873 male and female voters during.

He said all registration centers normally carried out their tasks except one center which was held up because of tribal disputes.

Historical Triggers for Instability in Yemen

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Janes Articles, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:43 pm on Monday, November 24, 2008

The roots of protest: Prior elections impact future polls

By: Jane Novak, also at the the Yemen Times

LAHJ, Nov. 22 — Voter registration committees triggered protests on Thursday that drew crowds estimated at hundreds of thousands. The registration process was launched November 11 in preparation for April’s Parliamentary election.

A teen was killed at a registration center in Radfan, Lahj on November 15 when police opened fire on protesters, an opposition MP said. Registration committees were forcibly ejected by residents in other southern towns. Radfan was the scene of four fatalities in September 2007 when security forces clashed with protesters. The year-long protest movement in the southern governorates culminated in the election of the Southern Liberation Council (SLC) on November 14, 2008. The SLC, purporting to represent hundreds of thousands of southern Yemenis, will boycott the election.

Yemen’s opposition party alliance, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), is boycotting the registration process. The JMP claims the registration committees were illegally formed and favor the ruling General People’s Congress Party (GPC). Security officials said on Thursday that hampering the committees’ activities is a crime. Dozens of JMP activists were arrested during otherwise peaceful protests.

Authorities report several hundred thousand new voters or domicile changes have been recorded since the registration process began. The GPC said the election will be held as scheduled and alleges the JMP is instigating the protests out of weakness.

After Yemen’s 2006 presidential and local elections, European Union (EU) election observers recommended measures to build public confidence in the electoral process, but steps were never taken. Current unrest stems largely from diminished pubic faith in the impartiality and integrity of the electoral process. Protests are also a backlash to the heightened expectations generated by the 2006 campaigns. (Read on …)

Voter Registration in Yemen, Committee Stats

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:33 pm on Sunday, November 23, 2008

The right to register verses the right to protest

Yemen Observer

The High Security Committee warned against attempts to prevent people from practicing their constitutional rights because of disruptions to the voters registration list amendments process following demonstrations by supporters of the Joint Meeting Parties in some area’s of Sana’a and Amran last week. (Read on …)

Bomb in Al-Dhalie, Hamid al-Ahmar Heads JMP Communication Committee

Filed under: Elections, JMP, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:01 pm on Sunday, November 23, 2008

SANA’A,NewsYemen

The Yemeni Socialist Party said that a huge bombing on Saturday hit the electoral center 297 in al-Jalilah city of al-Dale province to indicate rising tension over preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for April 27, 2009.

Several provinces witnessed more protests against the process of revising and updating voters’ list and field electoral committees which protestors considered as “illegal” and accuse them of counterfeiting the voters’ list. (Read on …)

Teen Shot Dead Over Electoral Protest in Yemen

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Elections, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:08 pm on Wednesday, November 19, 2008


SAN’A, Yemen:
A Yemeni lawmaker says police shot dead a teenager during clashes between police and protesters in the south of Yemen.

Nasser al-Khabagi, an opposition member of parliament, says the 16-year-old boy died Saturday when police fired at locals demonstrating at a voter registration center. He says the crowds were protesting the government’s rejection of opposition attempts to amend the country’s electoral law.

Police declined to comment on the death and said they opened fire in self defense.

Yemen’s political parties have been preparing the amendment to the electoral law for the past year in an effort to bring more women into parliament, curb vote-rigging and limit the influence of government officials.

Unrest in Taiz at Registration Centers

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:07 pm on Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This is so bad, electoral related violence is really spreading. Taiz is a big city.

Al-Motamar paper of the ruling party.

Taiz security reveals psychological disorder behind bomb-throwing
Wednesday, 19-November-2008
Almotamar.net – Security chief of Taiz governorate General Yahya al-Haisami affirmed the release on Tuesday of all persons detained over riots against election committees in the governorate.

In a statement to almotamar.net on Wednesday General al-Haisami said his administration detained elements that carried out acts of riot and prevented people from registering in records and attempted to expel field committees from centres and all of them were released after few hours of their detention after they have signed pledges of not returning to acts of riot at electoral constituencies, adding there is no detainee at present at his administration.

On the other hand the chief of security at the governorate said investigations with the persons who pelted a bomb and caused the injury of 16 persons on Tuesday revealed that the perpetrator Muntasir Ali Hassan al-Duais, 40 years, from Ibb governorate is suffering from psychological disorder, denying any other motive of the incident of Tuesday and caused the injury of 16 persons, two of whom seriously injured.

al-Sahwa Sahwa Net – Security forces arrested on Tuesday dozens of demonstrators using live bullets to disperse those checkpoints to block protests.

The Joint Meeting Parties denounced those acts describing them as arbitrary and calling, in the meantime, its supporters to go on their peaceful struggle.

On the other hand, JMP of Sharab district held a massive march which roamed the constituency’s election centers, expressing refusal of manipulating electoral lists by the authorities.

Sa’ada Voter Cards

Filed under: Elections, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:06 pm on Tuesday, November 18, 2008

All the reconstruction projects are launched in areas that never saw any fighting, and regime officials previously announced that “loyal” areas would receive aid first.

al-Motamar

Almotamar.net – Chairman of the General People’s Congress (GPC) Saada province branch Salem Mohammed al-Waheeshi stressed the importance of joining efforts for the success of the process of revising and amending the voter records and that the GPC is keen that the voter record should be as honest and free from any flaws.

Those remarks were mentioned at a meeting of the electoral leadership of the governorate of Saada and the specialised committee. Al-Waheeshi added that parties grouped in the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), among them the Yemen Socialist Party (YSP) were spreading lies that the GPC is has distributed 50 thousand electoral card in 5 districts.

He considered dissemination of rumours is evidence of real bankruptcy as they do not represent any presence in the governorate and the share of the governorate of electoral cards amount to 47 thousand cards all over constituencies of the governorate’s 15 districts.

He remarked that leaderships, cadres and bases of the GPC exposed lies of hose and the reply to the JMP-promoted rumours and aborted their conspiracies against the democratic process that Yemen enjoys.

Electoral Violence in Lahj, Aden

Filed under: Elections, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:55 pm on Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sahwa Net – Security authorities have seized dozens of students for hours at Karish in Lahj province in the wake of a student march roamed streets and demanded to remove elections committees from inside their schools.

The student march also asked to provide their schools with enough teachers and appropriate environment for education.

al-Sahwa

Sahwa Net – Six people were wounded including a member of the Joint Meeting Parties in Aden governorate on Sunday when the security forces which positioned before the centers of election committees interfered to prevent protestors from going on .

The opposition parties in Aden governorates had called their members and supporters to protest and boycott the election committees formed by the ruling party without the agreement with the opposition.

In a statement, JMP said that security forces attacked the protesters with batons and shot fire on them directly.

JMP had called for escalating peaceful struggle and boycotting registration committees which was formed by what is called the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum which is also considered illegal by Yemen’s opposition.

Electoral Violence Hits Yemen Five Months Early, Southerners Form Council

Filed under: Elections, JMP, Janes Articles, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:27 pm on Monday, November 17, 2008

Violence is breaking out all over Yemen, especially in the Southern governorates, in advance of April’s Parliamentary elections. Angry citizens have repeatedly attacked and expelled voter registration committees, and security forces opened fire on several occasions.

Yemen’s opposition party alliance, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), is boycotting the registration process because the government reneged on implementing needed electoral reforms. Southern Yemenis just elected their own representative body, the Southern Arabian Liberation Council (SALC), which has called for an electoral boycott claiming the central government, not just the election, is illegitimate in the south.

Yemen’s government deploys the institutions, processes and rhetoric of democracy to legitimize its rule and gain western support. In reality, the consolidation of democracy has made little progress since 1994 when Saleh’s forces re-imposed a unified state on southern Yemen by force. At the center of the national dynamic is greed. Saleh’s regime loots the state treasury at every step of administration. Brutal security forces, secret police, corrupt courts and systematic torture are the systems in place for those who do not succumb to bribery, blackmail and threats. While the forms of democracy have spread, the practice has not.

Elections since 1993 reduced the citizenry’s access to power and reinforced autocratic tribal power structures. The parliamentary majority of Saleh’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress (GPC), increased from 123 seats in 1993, to 187 in 1997 and 238 in 2003.

Through time, the state and ruling party became one entity. The state’s position as the largest employer in Yemen became a weapon of partisan politics. The GPC deployed a myriad of governmental resources in support of its candidates during the 2006 local and presidential election, and in meting out retribution after. Yemen’s first governors’ election in 2008 was a hasty process that rubber stamped GPC candidates. In the few cases where an independent won, the results were promptly overturned.

The impact of the ruling party’s merger with the state is magnified by the winner take all system (first past the post). The Yemeni opposition has long championed the proportional or list system. After the 2006 election, the ruling and opposition parties agreed to a number of electoral reforms based on recommendations from EU election observers. The GPC reneged, prompting the JMP to urge citizens not to register. The US funded National Democratic Institute that has been working with the parties is now urging consensus and, if necessary, postponing the election to allow time for the parties to come to an agreement. President Saleh said the election will go forward and numerous opposition activists have been arrested. Tensions have flared with Marib, Amran and Haja witnessing violence against electoral committees.

A significant development is South Yemen’s rejection of the entire political process. Yearlong regional protests were met with bullets and tanks, prompting southern Yemen to self-organize a representative political mechanism. The election of the Southern Arabian Liberation Council may have been the first “free and fair election” in Yemeni history. Its platform advocates a peaceful struggle for independence. The election results were announced in Yafi’ on November 14. The body consists of a president (Hassan Ba’oum), a ten member cabinet, 25 administrative officers and 352 National Council members.

The majority of Yemenis- north and south- are excluded from the ruling oligarchy. However Southern Yemen was under British rule for over a hundred years during which time several full bodied civil institutions functioned efficiently and impartially. The same cannot be said of northern Yemen during the Imamate or since the 1962 Republican Revolution. After the 1990 unification of north and south Yemen, media censorship, corruption and discrimination thwarted the institutional and cultural merger of the two Yemens. In Yemen, different histories and expectations are producing different outcomes among one people.

The 1994 north-south civil war ended with the military victory of President Saleh’s northern forces. Since then, southerners claim, the south has been looted as the spoils of war. Southerners perceive themselves as treated as third class citizens who face institutionalized discrimination and exclusion from the central government, which is firmly in the grip of the President and his family.

Public protests began in the south in May 2007. Dozens of demonstrators were shot by police, hundreds injured and over a thousand arrested. The regime’s response to the civil unrest consisted of a schizophrenic mix of violence, arrests and defamation sprinkled with fleeting allusions to wrong-doing by regime officials and superficial remedies to discriminatory policies. Thousands of troops reinforced the areas of greatest unrest. As government failed to remedy or even address the inequality, the response of the populist protest movement was to organize.

The failings of the JMP also had a demoralizing effect in the south where many as recently as 2006 were politically enfranchised and supportive of the opposition presidential candidate Faisel bin Shamlan. Southern disappointment lay not so much in the thuggish behavior of the GPC, which was expected, but instead in the opposition’s personal self-interest and capitulation. At a rally in the southern town of al-Dhalie on March 6, JMP speakers were pelted with stones and forced to leave. The JMP was again expelled from demonstrations in Radfan and Abyan in May 2008. Western observers’ lavish praise of a flawed process increased the sense of betrayal prevalent in the south. Following the 2006 election, it was the hope of achieving justice and equal rights in a unified state that prompted the year long demonstrations. It was the loss of that hope that brought about the Liberation Council which formally advances the notion that the south is illegally occupied by northern forces.

Electoral committees have been expelled throughout the south. There are also numerous no-go areas for government forces, including parts of Yafe, al-Dhalie, Abyan and others formerly under government control. All (northern) central government officials were expelled from Toor Albaha in Lahj in April 2008 and 40 soldiers captured. The soldiers were released four months later when the government agreed to several demands. Sheik Musa al-Nakhibi was freed by force from jail in Yafe on November 1. He had been charged with providing security for Hassan Ba’oum during the first Yafe conference in late October. The second Yafe conference, which elected the cabinet, was heavily guarded by men with RPGs, including farmers, laborers, academics and professionals.

-Jane

GPC will vote itself into office unilaterally

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Parliament — by Jane Novak at 1:27 pm on Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yay finally an article lists the pre-conditions that the regime reneged on: These included barring government officials from using influence to affect the vote, confining the registration of voters to their place of birth or residence and guaranteeing the impartiality of public financing and state-run media during election campaigns. There’s also the issue of the proportional list and obtaining a soft copy of the voters list (theres more male voters than men in Yemen).

SANA’A // The General People’s Congress, Yemen’s ruling party, said it will not postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for next April if the country’s political parties fail to reach an agreement over the poll, despite being advised to do so by the US National Democratic Institute.

The GPC and the Joint Meeting Parties, an opposition coalition of five parties that includes Islah, Yemen’s main Islamist party, have so far failed agree on an electoral committee to administer the elections.

“The central committee of our party decided in its extraordinary meeting last Thursday to go ahead with the election in its constitutional due time. The opposition is trying to cripple the election and we are not ready to postpone it to satisfy them,” said Tariq al Shami, a GPC spokesman. (Read on …)

NDI: Delay Better than Unilateral Election

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:59 am on Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mareb Press

WASHINGTON , DC – The National Democratic Institute (NDI) calls upon all parties in Yemen to work together to overcome the current impasse over the election law and election administration to ensure that the people of Yemen can experience well-managed and representative multi-party elections in 2009.

The 2009 parliamentary elections should be conducted in a manner that continues the many positive steps made during the conduct of the 2006 presidential and local council elections. However, the Institute is concerned that the current political tensions have made reaching consensus on crucial election issues difficult. Without broad agreement on the rules and procedures governing the election, Yemen could experience a political setback with unfortunate consequences for all Yemenis.

“The current tensions and challenges surrounding voter registration do not bode well for the process going forward. Rather, they underscore the need for the parties to come together to seek a consensus compromise so the elections can proceed as smoothly as possible and contribute positively to Yemen’s democratic development,” said Les Campbell, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at NDI.

NDI reaffirms that it is incumbent on all political parties to work collaboratively to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to the current impasse. As the parties seek to strengthen democracy in Yemen, they should honor the spirit of prior agreements and not become entrenched in partisan demands that might undermine the electoral process.

If the parties are unable to reach consensus and resolve the current impasse in a timely manner, then the government of Yemen should be open to considering a delay of the elections, in accordance with Yemen law and regulations.

Mr. Campbell stated earlier today, “Yemen has been grappling with the challenges of making democratic progress over the last dozen years. If it takes a bit more time to establish consensus rules and administration for the 2009 elections, it is worth taking that time, consistent with Yemeni law, so that these elections can be seen as a positive step and not a setback.”

Since 1993, NDI has been a partner in Yemen’s democratic development. The Institute continues to work in support of Yemen’s pursuit of multi-party democracy and its efforts to build on Yemen’s considerable accomplishments in the sphere of political reform.

The National Democratic Institute is a non-profit organization working to strengthen and expand democracy worldwide. NDI works with democrats in every region of the world to build political and civic organizations, safeguard elections, and promote citizen participation, openness, and accountability in government.

Lahj: Electoral Committees Expelled by Force

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Elections, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:04 am on Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Does anyone realize how hot the south is, and how far gone? These are not ungoverned regions; these are areas where the state lost its former control. There is NO HOPE whatsoever that the south will take part in the elections. The JMP has no say, and neither does the YSP- these are easy figures for the regime to blame but it just propaganda. The street is gone. It lost hope after the 2006 election when both the opposition and the international community signed off even as opposition party activists faced retribution for participating. The recent governor’s elections were a slap in the face, more smoke and mirrors. And in reality, there is also no hope that anything even resembling representative government will be produced by the Parliamentary elections, none at all.

Yemen Post:
An informed source told the Yemen Post that armed groups attacked security forces that were accompanying the committee for revising and amending voters’ tables in Habail Jabr of Lahj governorate. The source said that the armed group was able to enter the committee headquarters and forced committee members to leave the complex. Eyewitnesses said that the committee’s offices in the headquarter were shut down and the committee left the area immediately after being ordered to do so.

During the process, exchange of fire occurred which resulted in the injury of one governmental soldier.

“No side has yet to claim responsibility of the incident. We suspect anonymous militants who oppose the existence of the committee to be behind the attack”, said Sheikh Mohammed Saleh Al-Mzahmi, a local tribal leader at the scene of the incident.

From his part Hubail Jabr district’s Chairman Khalid Motlag told media outlets that what happened was a wrong action done by elements outside the law, adding he condemns the criminal acts and promised to punish those who cause chaos and damaged calmness and security in the region.

Yemen Electoral SCER Committees Unwelcome, Expelled

Filed under: Elections, JMP, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:28 pm on Saturday, November 8, 2008

Two reports from al-Motamar, one says the SCER is fine, just fine. The other reports obstruction. In reality its a lot worse than that. The state blames the JMP but thats another propaganda ploy. The JMP doesnt have a leading roll on the unrest and rejection at all. Its deeper than that.

Political motives & tribal problems cause temporary delay in election committees
Saturday, 08-November-2008
almotamar.net – Member of the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) Adeh al-Janadi said Saturday that 95% of the work of the supervising, basic and subcommittees on revising and amending voter records of 2008 in Yemen progresses calmly and regularly. He added that indicates success of the process of revising and correcting voter records. (Read on …)

Medical Union Vote Do-Over to Install GPC Loyalists

Filed under: Civil Rights, Elections, Medical, Unions — by Jane Novak at 9:29 am on Thursday, November 6, 2008

There’s massive corruption in the Heath and Medicine Ministry. A lot of donated and state funded drugs and equipment gets stolen from the ministries shelves. A real doctors union could put some pressure to increase health care standards. But no, what’s been produced is another clone. Similarly, if its impossible to get even a fair union vote, what do we think of the upcoming Parliamentary vote?

YO
The Yemen Observer recently published an article about the results of elections to the Doctors Syndicate of the Capital-Secretariat Branch during a subsidiary meeting on October 16. The purpose of these elections was to choose an administrative authority for the syndicate. Yet oddly enough, another meeting was held October 30 to conduct new elections to choose the administrative authority of the same Yemeni Doctors Syndicate of the Capital-Secretariat branch.

Last week in a simple hall used for wedding ceremonies, the first sub-conference of the Yemeni Doctors Syndicate of the Capital-Secretariat branch elected Dr. Mohammed al-Surmi as a Chairman of the syndicate. His election took place in the presence of a large number of Yemeni doctors. Yet, the first sub-conference of the Yemeni Doctors Syndicate of the Capital-Secretariat branch was again held in the Al-Shawqani Hall of the Policemen Faculty to elect a new leader and administrative authority. (Read on …)

SCER Includes Some Illiterate Persons

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:16 am on Thursday, November 6, 2008

But then again so does Parliament

Sahwa Net – Sources of the ruling party have revealed that recently formed election committees were included illiterate women in some several governorates.

Moreover, a document of the ruling party’s members in Dhala province disclosed that most women selected in election committees were not teachers. The ruling party had decided to form election committees from education sector.

The ruling party (GPC) resorted to form the Supreme Commission for Election and referendum lonely as it failed to reach an agreement on the election system.

On the other hand, the opposition parties (JMP) threatens to boycott the parliamentary elections which are to be held on next April, if the ruling party goes on ignoring their demands.

19,000 Observers

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:17 am on Monday, October 13, 2008

Almotamar.net – The number of organisations applied for observing g the process of revising and amending voter tables 2008 in Yemen rose to 22 local civil organisations and the number of observers reached at 19 thousand.

Head of the sector of civil society organisations at the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) Mohammed al-Saqaf Balghaith confirmed to almotmar.net that the local civil organisations asked to take part in observing the process of revising and correcting voter tables reached 22 until the beginning of this week and offering 19 thousand observers.

The member of the SCER also told almotamar.net about preparedness of the SCER to dispense the documents of observers during the current week.

The director general of international Observation at the sector of Foreign Relations at the SCER Ahmed Saeed had clarified earlier that they received requests for supervision and observation in the upcoming elections for 19 international observers.

Retired Military Would Support JMP Election Boycott

Filed under: Elections, JMP, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:07 am on Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sahwa Net – The official spokesman of Military Retirees Association Abdul al-Matari has said that MRA would stand by the Joint Meeting Parties if it boycotted the up-coming parliamentary elections.

“We would stand by JMP if it boycotted the up-coming elections as we don’t pay attention to elections and only focus on the southern issue” he told Sahwa Net.

“If the southern issue was recognized, then we could talk about other issues such as elections” added he.

JMP Rejects GPC Formed SCER

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:39 am on Monday, September 1, 2008

News Yemen

The Supreme Council of the Joint Meeting Parties announced it would neither boycott the coming parliamentarian elections in April 2009 nor run the election “with conditions set by the ruling GPC.”

Chairman of the council Abdul-Wahab al-Anisi said at a press conference, held on Sunday at the headquarters of the Yemeni Socialist Party, the rejection of election law amendments by GPC was “coup against democratic margin in the country.” (Read on …)

Saleh Forms SCER

Filed under: Elections, Presidency — by Jane Novak at 10:58 am on Thursday, August 28, 2008

I dont think any of the EU’s suggested electorial reforms were implemented.

Presidential decree on SCER formation issued

SANA’A, Aug. 26 (Saba)- Presidential decree No. 12 for the year 2008 was issued on Tuesday on the formation of the Supreme Committee of Elections and Referendum of the following personnel:

1- Khaled Abdul-Wahab al-Sharif
2- Abdullah Muhsen al-Akwa’a
3- Dr. Ja’afer Saeed Ba-Salah
4- Dr. Mohammed Abdullah al-Sayani
5- Alawi Ali al-Mashhour
6- Abdu Mohammed al-Jundi
7- Mohammed al-Saqaf Abdul-Rahman Balghait
8- Saif Mohammed Saleh al-Sharabi
9- Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Dahan

The second and the last article stipulates that this decree enters it into effect
from the date of its issuance and to be published in the official gazette.

Political Impasse

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:07 pm on Friday, August 8, 2008

http://www.yemenonline.info/news-887.html

Yemeni Parliament to receive political parties candidates for SCER tomorrow
YemenOnline- August 8,2008 – Well informed source declared to YemenOnline that the General People’s Congress (GPC) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will present a list of their candidates for membership of the Supreme Commission for Election and Referendum (SCER) to the parliament.

According to the sources the list of the GPC and the NDA includes 9 of outstanding figures. It is also supposed that the opposition (Joint Meeting Parties) (JMP) would present to the parliament a 6-member list of candidates. The parliament would nominate 15 persons and refer their names to the President of the Republic who will issue a presidential decree of appointing only 9 of them as members of the SCER.Political observers commented that the agreement of between GPC and JMP of the formation of (SCER) will end 9 months of Disagreements

SANA’A, Aug. 5 — Despite an announced agreement between the ruling General People’s Congress and the Joint Meeting Parties on a government project to amend the Election Law presented to Parliament last week, the JMP-affiliated Socialist Party boycotted Tuesday’s Parliament sessions dedicated to discussing the amendments.

Further, the Socialist Party has determined to boycott all such parliamentary sessions until all political detainees are released and the situation in the southern governorates is resolved.

Member of Parliament Mohammed Saleh Al-Qubati, head of the Socialist parliamentary bloc and JMP spokesman, said, “It’s unreasonable to move forward regarding the elections without releasing these political detainees because this issue relates to all agreements and dialogue issues involving the ruling party.” (Read on …)

SCER Dispute Goes On and On

Filed under: GPC, JMP, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 8:29 pm on Friday, August 1, 2008

Cabinet refers election amendments to the parliament, JMPs reject them
Wednesday 30 July 2008 22ouWed, 30 Jul 2008 22:42:36 +0300 10 PM / Mareb Press

The Cabinet referred yesterday to the parliament a draft amendment of some articles of the law No. 13 for the year 2001 regarding the general elections and referendum in order to complete constitutional procedures.

The spokesmen of the opposition Join Meeting Parties (JMPs), Mohammed al-Qubati, confirmed the refusal of JMPs for the government’s approval for the election amendments.

“The election amendments approved and referred by the cabinet to the parliament represent only the viewpoint of ruling party. These amendments are rejected by the JMPs because they do not include the whole election system,” he said.

He added the JMPs demanded to integrally amend the election system.

“In the case, the amendments referred to the parliament they will be rejected by the JMPs’ parliamentarian block,” he added.

Al-Qubati accused the government and ruling party of avoiding implementing the agreements that ensure conducting fair and free democratic elections.

He denied holding dialogues between the JMPs and the General People’s Congress over this issue. He added there is a contact between them over other issues.

The amendment draft is mainly focusing expanding the issue of challenges and approving the right to challenges against candidates for parliamentary and local elections during the period of nomination in addition to guarantying impartiality in civil service, public property and official media during electoral campaigns.

The amendments also include approving the right to file complaints during the electoral process, enhancing the current legal texts that confirm independence and impartiality of the Election Supreme committee, organizing the security in the elections, expanding the local, international observation over the election and determining the rights and commitments of observers.

JMP Holding Elections Hostage

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:10 pm on Thursday, July 24, 2008

The JMP, which is the actual political opposition not like that new fangled creation, must get on the ball. The Parliamentary election is in April and the SCER isn’t formed yet.

Yemen Online

Yemen Elections : JMP shouldn’t hold the elections hostage ” El-Erayni says

Dr.Abdul karim El-Eryani, Political Advisor of the Yemeni president and Second Vice-President of General People Congress (Ruling party) declared to YemenOnline that the elections and formation of the Supreme Commission For Elections & Referendum (SCER)are completely independent process . Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) shouldn’t hold the elections hostage because they have political problems with the government.Dr.El-Eryani has left the dialogue on the formation of SCER with JMP because they were insisted on linking elections to other issues not related to elections .

Yemeni Opposition MPs Continue Boycott of Parliament

Filed under: Elections, JMP, Parliament — by Jane Novak at 10:01 pm on Friday, July 4, 2008

Yemen Times

SANA’A, July 2 — Parliament last Tuesday approved suspending discussion on a project to amend a law regarding the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum in order to achieve political agreement between Yemen’s main parties within the formation of such committee.

The government proposed a project last November to amend the election law to stipulate that committee members be judges, which caused reservations within the Joint Meeting Parties, who demanded the committee be comprised of politicians, based upon party-agreed principles. However, the ruling General People’s Congress suggests the committee be formed in accordance with the number of voters in the April 2003 parliamentary elections.

The state-run Saba News Agency reports that the Yemeni Parliament – in which the GPC holds 229 out of 301 seats – approved suspending discussion of the project to amend the public election law “out of its belief regarding the importance of political agreement and achieving the nation’s supreme interests, as the involved parties and political organizations continue the process of political dialog.”

It also pointed out that Parliament expressed its sorrow at the absence of JMP parliamentary bloc members from Parliament sessions, claiming they changed their decision regarding boycotting Parliament.

JMP parliamentary bloc members have been boycotting such sessions since June 9 in protest against the amendment project’s placement on Parliament’s schedule.

Update: And they’re back.
Changed their minds, made a deal: Sahwa Net –parliamentary blocs of the Yemeni opposition have declared ending of their boycott to the parliament’s sessions in return of the ruling party abandoning to discuss a draft which through it was intending to pass an election law solely using its majority. They achieved consensus on 60% of the issues the GPC reports.

Minister of Expatriate Affairs Resigns in Protest

Filed under: Corruption, Elections, Ministries — by Jane Novak at 5:47 pm on Friday, May 30, 2008

Yemen Post

Ten days before announcing the new ministerial reshuffle, Minister of Expatriates Affairs Saleh Sumi’ee resigned from his post in protest against the constant demands by the head of investigation sector at the Anti-corruption committee to pay the due sums for the Yemeni community schools in the Horn of Africa.

Sumi’ee hinted that the head of the education center for community schools Abdul Bari Al-Dhamari embezzled YR 45 million over the years 1998 to 2002 at the leniency of Finance and Expatriates’ Affairs ministries. (Read on …)

Al-Jawf Election Results Displease Saleh, Overturned

Filed under: Elections, Local gov, Presidency — by Jane Novak at 4:38 pm on Friday, May 30, 2008

Yemen Post
Local sources told the Yemen Post that President Saleh has sought to force Al-Ezi bin Abadan to withdraw his candidacy as governor of Al-Jawf. The negotiations led Al-Jawf sheikhs and tribes supporting Abadan to lift their siege on the government complex in Al-Hazm, the capital city of Al-Jawf province.

Bin Abadan support amassed last week after a first-instance court rejected the results of elections and ordered conducting new elections, demanding the result to be approved and to announce their fellow as the winner. (Read on …)

Al-Jawf Election Overturned: GPC Didn’t Win, But Will Now

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:49 am on Sunday, May 25, 2008

This is such garbage, complete and total. The governors “election” brought 17 of Saleh’s hand picked GPC cronies to the post. But in three other cases, independents were elected by the local councils despite overwhelming pressure. In al-Jawf, they took a stand and voted their conscience. I was so happy about that. It was something. But now the country with more male voters then men is overthrowing the election in al-Jawf because of electoral improprieties.

Yemeni court orders re-election in al-Jawf province
Sana’a, May 23, 2008 (YemenOnline) – A Yemeni court ordered a re-election in al-Jawf province due to the many appeals field against former governor elections in which an independent candidate won over a ruling General People’s Congress (JPC) candidate in May 17, 2008. (Read on …)

GPC Wins Governors “Elections”

Filed under: Elections, Local gov, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:28 pm on Saturday, May 17, 2008

26 Sept

Candidates of General People’s Congress for governors’ post won in most Yemeni provinces, while independent candidates won in the provinces of Al baydha, Al Jawf and Marib. The election id Adalea province postponed due to lack of quorum.

The Election supervising committee in Marib province has announced the independent candidate for the province governor post Naji al-Zayedi to win.

He came ahead of the ruling party nominee Hussein Hazeb with 141 of 206 eligible voters against 36 for Hazeb.

The origin number of the eligible voters in the province electoral body reaches 268.

On the other hand, Ahmed al-Maisari won in the Abyan governor elections with 125 voters against 94 for his rival Muhammad Saleh Hadran.

In Hodiedah Ahmed Salim al-Jabali overwhelmingly won the elections.

The Nation

SANA’A // Yemen held its first vote for provincial governors yesterday, with the ruling party winning all but three of the 20 districts, while an opposition boycott in a fourth led to the vote being cancelled.

In Mareb, al Baidha and al Jawf, the winning ruling party members ran as independents after they opposed the party’s choice of candidate, while in al Dhale’, where the election was boycotted by the opposition, a governor will be appointed by Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president.

The election followed a decision by Mr Saleh last month to allow 7,498 local council members to elect the mayor of the capital, Sana’a, and the governors of 20 provinces. But the opposition said that the election was a farce, as candidates are not chosen by the party but by the party’s leadership. (Read on …)

Polling Results

Filed under: Elections, Women's Issues, Yemen, Yemen-Statistics — by Jane Novak at 7:18 pm on Monday, May 5, 2008

A poll of 75% men finds opposition to a woman as governor….

YPC: 53.8% of Yemenis refuse idea of electing woman as governor

http://www.sabanews.net/en/news153385.htm

[05 May 2008]
SANA’A, May 05 (Saba)- A poll showed on Monday that 78.3 percent of the respondents had expressed support to the upcoming elections of the mayor of the capital Sana’a and governors of the provinces, which to be held on 17 may, while 21.5 percent said that the elections have no significance.
(Read on …)

JMP Rejects Governors Elections

Filed under: Elections, JMP, Local gov, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:29 pm on Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yemen Observer

The GPC Political Secretary, Abdullah Ahmed Ghanim, announced that their meeting which was held last Thursday changed the governors’ election timetable. Formerly scheduled for April 27, the election will now take place at a later date in May. The ruling GPC’s general committee member said the committee decided to delay the April 27 date since the president decided to call for the election of local council bodies for the governors to take place in May.

Ghanim said that the governors’ elections postponement will allow time for finishing the election procedures, giving ample time for submitting nomination forms. It will also provide the necessary time for examining forms and their competence with the nomination law terms. The postponement also provides time for the obtainment of consent because the nominee should have the consent of at least ten percent of the electoral body, on condition that the number of nominees does not exceed ten persons in each governorate. The final time for elections will then be determined, followed by the vote’s count and result declaration. “We are going to have the right time and procedures,” the source said.

Ghanim pointed out that the GPC will be running the governors’ elections in all governorates, even in the al-Dale governorate in which the GPC has no local council majority.

It does, however, have a large representation of governorates and directorates at local council level. Ghanim expected that the parliament will determine the formation of the supreme election committee in May.

As a first reaction to the opposition, the JMP spokesperson, Dr. Mohammed Saleh al-Qubati, said that the approval of the governors’ election draft law by the ruling party majority is no more that humorous comedy. Marking serious drawbacks of the GPC’s leading authorities and their commitments, the JMP declared that they will accept either local governments or a fully authorized local governance.

Al-Qubati said that the authority and its ruling party’s trend in tackling the law amendment will contribute to escalating present crises.

As spokesperson for the JMP, al-Qubati announced their refusal to accept the local authority’s draft to amend the law concerning governors’ elections, declaring that there is no point in joining such mock elections which are tailored to the ruling party.

Law Regulating Governors Elections

Filed under: Elections, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:14 pm on Tuesday, April 15, 2008

YemenTimes

SANA’A, April 23 — Republican decree 86 for the year 2008, regarding the bylaw of electing governors and Sana’a’s mayor, was issued on Monday. The government approved the decree on Sunday.

The decree’s 45 items state that the Ministry of Local Administration is to prepare and supervise governor elections. The bylaw also says committees are to be formed to supervise the elections at the governorate level, with each committee to consist of three to five members and chaired by someone who is not below a deputy minister position.

According to the bylaw, voting for the governors will be confidential. For candidates to win the election, they or their representatives must be present during voting and ballot counting. In their absence, the supervising committee is to select another candidate to fill the winner’s place.

Any candidate can impugn the election results by submitting a petition to the judiciary committee within 48 hours after the results are announced, the bylaw says.

Additionally, the bylaw says any candidate running for governor should meet certain conditions, being at least 40 years of age and holding a university degree or any equivalent certificate.

Candidates should also have at least 10 years of practical experience in the government or private sector.

A candidate must also have the recommendation of 10 percent of the local council members. A member of the local council should not recommend more than one candidate, and if he/she recommended more than one candidate, then his/her recommendations are regarded invalid.

Elections delayed

The Ministry of Defence’s website, www.sep.net, said that the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) changed the time of the elections of governors from April 27 to an unspecified day in May. The website quoted Abdullah Ahmed Ghanem, head of the ruling party’s political office, as saying that the GPC’s General Committee decided to make April 27 a day for President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s announcement for governor elections.

Ghanem didn’t specify when exactly the elections would be held, but he said delaying the election day would give time to complete necessary measures for the elections.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Local Administration said on Tuesday that gathering recommendations by the current governors from local council members with the aim to use them [recommendations] for the election of governors is illegal.

The ministry added that the committees tasked with supervising the elections would not consider such recommendations. It further noted that it is preparing a sample recommendation in accordance with certain conditions.

Current Governors Not to be Re-Elected, Well Not All Of Them, Probably

Filed under: Civil Rights, Elections, GPC, Local gov, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:49 pm on Monday, April 14, 2008

The GPC dominated local councils will nominate and elect the govs. There’s no residency requirement. Current governors can be nominated, but the GPC is not using its power to get the appointed current governors formally installed by the vote, Shamy sez. The governor of Aden really needs to go.

al-Motamar

Almotamar.net – Head of the Information Office at the General People’s Congress (GPC) Treq al-Shamy on Monday said the door to nomination for the post of a governor is open but as a transitional stage the electing body would be from members of governorate and district local councils and are amounting to more than 7200 members.

On the right of governors who are at present heads of local councils and if they are also meant for nomination al-Shamy said , ” They have the right and it is not a condition that the candidate to be from the sons of the governorate especially if that governor was successful in his job and offered much to the governorate, ” but al-Shamy affirmed that on condition of the recommendation he is entitled to get and estimated at 10% of the total members of local councils in the governorate for nomination to the post.

Al-Shamy in a statement to altaghyeer.net website has ruled out that the GPC ruling party would use its majority in the councils for reproduction of the present reality through the re-election of the present governors and their continuation vial balloting boxes.

Mareb Press

The political leaders of the opposition Join Meeting Parties (JMPs) described the electing of governors as ‘play’. They said the governor elections contradict the principle of free and direct elections.

They demanded to issue a law allowing all people to elect the governors and district directors.

The chairman of the political circle of Yemen Congregation for Reform party (Islah) said in a press conference for the JMPs, “we are with the decision of governors and district directors elections, if the elections are open and public, but the government has confined the candidacy for governor post on the members of governorate and district local councils.”

Earlier, the National Defense Council (NDC) chaired by President Ali Abdullah Saleh decided on Wednesday to amend some articles of the Local Authority Law concerning elections of governors.

The NDC decided to transfer all financial allowances for development projects in governorates to the local councils and to give local councils the authority of electing governors from members of the local councils in the governorates.

Elbaneh’s Lawyer Demands Court Drop Charges

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Elections, Trials, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:04 am on Monday, March 31, 2008

Trial resumes. Jaber says he didnt plot to blow the facilities. Then there’s Tharbani, bin Shamlan’s security guard and Saleh’s cousin who was acquited already despite much fanfare the days before the 2006 election.

Lawyer demands to clear FBI’s most-wanted, Alsahwa.net

March 30, 2008 – Lawyer of Jaber al-Bana’a , the suspect of bombing an oil installation in Marib and the FBI’s most wanted, demanded to aquit his client.

“If the prosecution knows that al-Bana’a was not involved in the case, then it is better to clear him” added the lawyer Abdul-Aziz al-Smawi.

In the hearing headed by Judge Mohammad al-Hakimi, al-Smawi accused the court of working to please outside parties, indicating that other countries no longer accept the United States’ demands. “They woke up” commented he.

Al-Bana who was sentenced to 10 years by a Yemeni court for his connection with terrorism, was released on commercial bail on March 9.

Yemen Post

The State Specialized Penal Court resumes today the trails of Al-Qaeda Cell accused of planning terrorist acts and targeting oil facilities in Mareb and Hadramout late in 2006.

The trial comes after the American Embassy in Sana’a blamed the organization for the recent attack on the Embassy using Hown-mortar shells which missed their way and fell in nearby July 7 school.

Meanwhile, Interior Ministry denied any link of Al-Qaeda Organization with July 7 incident and hinted the Embassy was not a target for the attack.

In a symposium organized by Future Studies Center last week, the guests spoke about the current position of Al-Qaeda Organization in Yemen. Saeed Al-Jumhi, author of ‘Al-Qaeda Organization – the Origin and the Intellectual Background’ published last year stressed the danger stems from people who recruit and produce the sleeping cells.

Chief Editor of News yemen website Nabil Al-Soufi pointed out that none is waging a real military war with Al-Qaeda and it is a matter of settlements. He stressed that Al-Qaeda attacks in Yemen affect the country but not America and hinted the authorities are conniving with the organization for achieving certain ends.

In related news, Najeeb Mohammed Abdu, known also as Abu Hafsah and the guard Aden-Abyan Islamic Army leader Khalid Muhb Al-Nabi is still in Aden’s Al-Naqeeb hospital meeting treatment after being injured in exchange of fire with security men.

Attacks Against Female Schools

Filed under: Elections, Islah, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 12:43 pm on Saturday, March 22, 2008

Yemen Observer

Principals of all girls’ schools in Sana’a staged a sit-in at the 7th of July school on Wednesday, condemning the attack and at the same time condemning the silence of official authorities and the teachers syndicate about the previous attack that targeted 7th of July school principal Shafia’a al-Seragi. Supporters of al-Seragi said that this silence encouraged the terrorists to launch the second brutal attack.

“Any man that beats a woman, whether she is a teacher, a principal or even an ordinary woman is a coward, as are the officials that close their eyes to violence committed against women,” said the principal of al-Nizari girls’ school.

Three principals of girls’ schools, including al-Seragi, have been attacked in the past two weeks. The three attacked principals are believed to be political and social activists that promote girls’ education and the adoption of new educational methods that prohibit violence in schools.

In addition to the beating of Shafia’a al-Seragi by three men, a principal of a school in Hodeidah was beaten by five women from the Islah Islamic party and also received threats of having her house blown up. A third principal’s car was stolen and had its seats and tires stripped. Her house electricity was cut off by unidentified persons at the same time that the other two female principals were attacked.

Interview with NDI Head

Filed under: Elections, GPC, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:15 pm on Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Yemen Post is coming up with many good interviews. This one is with the head of NDI:

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) works in over 60 countries across the globe and seeks to strengthen democratic practices. NDI has been working in Yemen since 1993, primarily supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) but with funding from other sources, such as the Dutch and UK embassies in the past. The two-member office has turned now to be a regional office with over 40 employees of Yemeni and foreign nationalities. It has sought to develop democracy in the country and actively participated in all presidential, parliamentary and local elections conducted in Yemen as of 1993.

By the end of 2006, a Canadian man with European roots (of Bulgarian father and German mother) assumed the responsibility as the resident director of the Sana’a-based NDI regional office. Prior to his arrival in Yemen, the man who just came from Afghanistan thought his task will be an easy one; however, this was not the case. Although Yemen has common features with Afghanistan, including the society’s tribal structure, there were tensions between NDI and the Yemeni government, felt especially under his predecessor Robin Madrid’s direction. It was necessary by then to adjust the Institute’s policies, especially those which aroused Yemeni government’s dissatisfaction. Before joining the NDI, he served as chief of staff to Canada’s Secretary of State for Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East, as well as serving for many years in the Canadian Army, within the Royal Canadian Artillery. This is Peter Dimitroff, the country director of NDI’s program in Yemen.

Though his back ground is military, Dimitroff is energetic and enjoys a high sense of diplomacy and speaks with frankness yet with cautiousness. Hereafter are the details of our interview with him:

Yemen Post: What is your assessment of Yemen’s democratic experience?

Peter Demitroff: Yemen has been able to achieve good results; however, we have to find some way to move beyond that. In fact there exist democratic structures including parliament, local councils, etc, but still we have to push them forward in order to work better. Moreover, unrest in southern Yemen, economic situation, pensioners’ situation should be also read within the political context which is the normal context. There have been fairly good elections, but elections do not mean democracy. Despite all achievements, there is still more work ahead to be done and more improvement is required. Yemen compares well with other regional countries in the democratic field, but this democracy has to bring results to people. (Read on …)

Electronic Voter Cards

Filed under: Elections, Reform, Yemen, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 11:16 pm on Thursday, January 10, 2008

This is good. The voter rolls are a mess, but this is an opportunity to straighten them out.

PARIS (Thomson Financial) – Gemalto said it has won an order from Yemen to supply an electronic identification system, which includes 10 mln electronic identity cards, in preparation for elections to be held in April 2009.

Financial details for the order were not disclosed.

The order includes the creation of a national biometric security registry, maintenance and local support services.

Formed from the merger of Axalto and Gemplus in 2006, Gemalto had third quarter sales of 400.6 mln eur, up 3 pct from a year earlier.

There’s an SCER Apparently

Filed under: Elections, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:12 pm on Thursday, December 13, 2007

What? The SCER? Where did it come from? Is it the judges?

Al-Motamar
almotamar.net – The Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) has already begun technical supplies for the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled in Yemen in April 2009.

Secretary General of the SCER Shaef al-Husseini on Thursday has made it clear that at the present the commission is drawing up ideas on needs of technical and material requisites and preparation of budgets for the first stage of the next democratic process such as electorate registration that requires preparation for it six months ahead of the polling day.

Al-Husseini added that the SCER practices its duties and work according to the law that authorizes its general secretariat to take care of financial and administrative works.

Al-Shaef pointed out that the SCER and its branches in the governorates will begin preparing the stage through counting and assessment of what is existing and complete needs at all constituencies and committees.

Related: Yemen Times oped on the NDI report on the last election.

Wonders of the NDI’s report have no limit. When the reader believes that the report has already closed the file of conflicts between SCER and opposition parties, he/she will be shocked to see the report discussing the same issue once again. The way the report is written reminds readers of the former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a Nabeel Khoury who completed his assignment in Yemen a few months ago. Khoury confused many observers who did not know whether he is a deputy chief of mission at the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, a deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy here in Sana’a or a representative of the Pope.

Those who prepared the NDI’s report seem to have forgotten the efforts exercised by the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), specialized in electoral affairs, its lengthy reports and the agreed-upon recommendations, which the ruler left in the drawers.

Part of the report concerned with SCER has reminded people of the behavior of Mr. Abdu Al-Janadi, SCER member. This part reads, “The electoral process was managed in a relatively good manner, however, SCER’s performance in preparing and organizing the elections was better than its performance in the area of preventing and correcting violations that occurred during the implementation process.

NDI knows more:

In the part devoted to the election results, the report celebrates the GPC landslide victory in the elections by saying, “Regarding the local council elections, GPC won 85 percent of the seats at the governorate level and 79 percent of the seats at the district level while Islah, which is the strongest opposition party in Yemen, obtained only 7 percent of the governorate seats and 12 percent of the district seats and YSP got only 2 percent of the seats at the governorate level and 3 percent at the district level. The result is totally different from that of 2001 election when GPC got 58.5 percent of the governorate seats and 85.6 percent of the district seats. In that election, the Islah party won 20.4 of the seats at the governorate level and 23.3 percent at the district level while YPS obtained 3.8 and 3.2 percent of the local council seats in the governorates and districts respectively.”

In order not to raise questions about integrity of the elections and NDI, the report gave a scientific reason to such a democratic victory, attributing the low number of votes obtained by Islah and YPS to the inadequate use of resources, as well as the lack of training and organization for their local council candidates. It did not indicate that the election system in Yemen hinders win of opposition candidates.

JMP Parliamentary Block Withdraws, Threatens to Resign Over SCER Dispute

Filed under: Elections, Parliament, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:57 am on Wednesday, November 28, 2007

They learned from the last election that no reform is possible without electoral reform, then comes political reform which is the prerequisite for economic reform.

Al-Sahwa

November 26, 2007- Parliamentary bloc of the Joint Meeting Parties withdrew Monday from the parliament, protesting the ruling party insistence to pass law amendments regarding the Supreme Committee for Elections and Referendum.

The senior member of JMP, Zaid al-Shami, said that such amendments target the opposition party and weaken the fledging democracy in the country. (Read on …)

Parliament to Draft Electoral Ammendments, SCER

Filed under: Elections, JMP, Parliament, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:35 am on Sunday, November 25, 2007

I’m unclear on the JMP’s conceptualization of an equitable mechanism for forming the SCER. 50/50 Between the GPC and JMP?

Amending election law includes formation of the election commission
Sunday, 25-November-2007
almotamar.net – Chairman of the parliamentary constitutional and legal affairs committee Ali Abu Hlaiqa read out Sunday the government request for amending some articles of the general election and referendum law for 2001.

Meanwhile the opposition member of parliament Sultan al-Attwani refused that one of members of parliament to present the government’s request of the amendments. The opposition MP said the government has two ministers who are the minister of parliament and Shoura council affairs and the minister of legal affairs and they should have been present to present the request to the parliament and he also expressed his opposition of the draft amendments.

Deputy chairman of the General People’s Congress (GPC) parliamentary bloc Yasser al-Awadhi asserted on his part that the parliament is the master of its decision, indicating that the parliament has issued a decision giving the political parties one week grace period to agree on he supreme commission for elections, calling on the members of parliament to undertake their constitutional and legal duty. (Read on …)

SCER: Not Neutral

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:07 pm on Monday, November 19, 2007

Al-Sahwa:

Jurists and politicians: ‘SCER is failed and non-neutral’ November 18, 2007- Yemeni Jurists and politicians have demanded to change the current electoral system, pointing out that the outgoing Supreme Committee for Elections and Referendum which its legal term ended last Friday was the reasons behind the imbalance of the democratic process in Yemen.

They further depicted this SCER as the worst in Yemen’s history, affirming that it is one of the main troubles hinder the democratic process.

“It devoted during its term tribe influence instead of parties and was a cause to forgery and legal violations” They told “alsahwa.net “.

Head of the Islah’s electoral office, Ibrahim al-Hair, said that the committee failed in three main points; its ultimate bias to the ruling party, its failure to impose order and its inability to benefit from international fund for elections.

“SCER failed to provide adequate electoral environment and appeared absolutely biased to the ruling party” added al-Hair.

He also said that the coming SCER would face big difficulties as a result of the last one’s terrible legacy.

For his part, the senior leader of the Yemeni Socialist Party, Ali al-Sarari, said that SCER was not balanced in managing elections and the opposition parties’ participation could not also promote its performance as the ruling party firmly controls its base.

Meanwhile, the Nasserite leader, Yassin abdul-Razaq said that the current SCER made a wide gap in voter registration and enable the authorities to achieve its purposes and counterfeit.

He emphasized that SCER dealt with oppositions’ political forces as opponent, considering political future of the country lies on reforming it.

Jurist and activist Khalid al-Ansi confirmed that SCER was not independent and was clearly biased to the ruling party.

The professor of political science in Sana’a University, Dr. Abdullah al-Faqih suggested formation of a new SCER, equally divided between the ruling party and the opposition.

SANA’A, NewsYemen

The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) said the decision of the majority in the Parliament to give parties an indulgence for one week to reshuffle the Supreme Elections Committee is not the right of the majority belongs to the General People’s Congress.

The Parliament has not the right to take such a decision because the article 36 of elections law assigns the secretary-general of the Supreme Elections Committee to run its affairs, said the JMP’s spokesman Mohammad al-Sabri.

If the majority, which belongs to the ruling party, is interested in solving national issues, it should blame the ruling party for impeding political dialogue with opposition parties, not to put the ball in opposition’s court, al-Sabri told NewsYemen.

He said that reforming the Supreme Elections Committee is a national issue and all should openly address it apart from pressure and threats.

Al-Sabri said the JMP is discussing the issue of the elections committee as a national request to guarantee more candid elections, calling all parties to shoulder their responsibilities.

The Parliament decided yesterday to await the results of dialogue between political parties represented in the Parliament over reshuffling the elections committee despite the legal time of dialogue came to end Friday.

The General People’s Congress party, the ruling party, has the majority of seats in the Parliament after parliamentary elections in 2003.

Tribesmen attack oil installation

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Elections, Oil, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:44 pm on Friday, November 9, 2007

Jobs given to northerners, not foreigners, seems to be the grievence:

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — Tribesmen attacked an oil installation in Yemen and then clashed with government troops Thursday, leaving 12 people dead, a local official said. It was the second attack on the country’s oil industry this week.

The clash in Shabwa province, about 136 miles southeast of the Yemeni capital San’a, broke out after men from the Bani Harith clan attacked a Ukrainian-run oil installation, said the province’s governor, Mohammad Ali Ruwashan. (Read on …)

NDI

Filed under: Elections, GPC, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:58 pm on Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SANA’A, NewsYemen

The US National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) has advised Yemeni ruling and opposition parties to “limit illegal acts of their leaders and supporters on the local level”.

The NDI has warned that the disability to apply the new election system, due to political wrangling, does not only threaten the coming election practices, but it may negatively influence the trust between Yemeni people and the election system and bodies to be elected, presidential or parliamentary or local.

This trust is important to legalize elections, said the American institute.
It has urged in its latest report on elections the Yemeni political elites to “seriously discuss ways of applying current election-related laws and bylaws before and during elections and spotting shortcomings in the election system to avoid them in future.”

The NDI’s remarks have focused particularly on parliamentary elections in 2009. It has said the elections would be the most important elections in Yemen because a real political contest is expected to be unprecedented event in Yemen, it said.

The institute has hailed the latest performance of Yemeni Parliament towards different issues and efforts of Yemeni civil society organizations and women to find a place in the decision-making posts.

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) is a nonprofit organization working to strengthen and expand democracy worldwide.

NDI’s bureau in Yemen was for 12 years a key partner of Yemen in the democratic development as it works through different programs of developing the performance of political parties, enhancing the role of parliament, supporting elections and settling conflicts. It is generously funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Freedom House: Yemen is Not An Electoral Democray

But it does a very good imitation of one.

Yemen Times

Yemen held presidential and local council elections in September 2006. President Ali Abdullah Saleh was reelected with 77 percent of the vote, and his party, the General People’s Congress, overwhelmingly won the municipal elections. The balloting was marred by some violence and opposition accusations of fraud. Serious press freedom violations, including the closure of newspapers and detention of journalists, also accompanied the election season.
(Read on …)

Islah Participation in the Democractic Process

Filed under: Elections, Islah, USA, YSP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:55 am on Thursday, October 4, 2007

UNITED STATES INTSTITUTE OF PEACE SPECIAL REPORT
Engaging Islmaists and Promoting Democracy

YEMEN
Path to Reform. Yemen’s path to reform has been dogged by widespread poverty, high
illiteracy rates, and endemic corruption. Significant democratic reforms were implemented
in the 1990 unification of North and South Yemen, including the legalization of opposition
parties, creation of an independent electoral system, and expanded press freedoms.
Parliamentary elections were held in 1993. However, Yemen’s democratic opening was
marred by numerous setbacks, capped in 2001 by a presidential consolidation of power
that amended the constitution to extend both parliamentary and presidential terms. The
president also gained new powers to dissolve the parliament and extended his control over
the legislature by enlarging the president-appointed upper house. (Read on …)

Arab Sisters Forum Welcomes 15% Quota for Women

Filed under: Civil Society, Elections, Presidency, Reform, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:52 am on Thursday, October 4, 2007

Me too.

almotamar.net - The Arab Sisters Forum for HUMAN Rights (SAF), one of the most active civil societies in Yemen, welcomed what was included in the president’s initiative regarding allocation of 15% quota for women in the parliament and called on the Joint Meeting Parties not to announce their reservation on that article of the initiative or taking negative stand regarding the women quota in the parliament.

The SAF mentioned it has received with interest the presidential initiative announced by president of the republic on 24 September 2007 whose 8th article included adoption of a positive allocation of 15% in parliament for women and to be stipulated in the election law. (Read on …)

Parlimentary By-Elections Fair Except for Use of Public Funds, Soldiers

Filed under: Elections, Military, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:48 pm on Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yemen Observer:

The September 6th 2007 by-elections in Aden and Ibb were conducted in a generally peaceful and orderly manner with only a few violations, said the national Democratic Institute for International Affairs in a press release after the elections.

The statement congratulated the SCER for successfully administering the elections and noted that although there were some minor violations, they were not enough to jeopardize the overall validity of the election results. (Read on …)

Women Threaten to Boycott Elections

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:23 am on Tuesday, September 11, 2007

there ya go

Quotas or Closed Constituencies, either way

Yemen Times Political Parties rejected the Quota System as a solution to ensure women’s representation in the elections. As a consequence female activists threatened to retaliate by withdrawing from coming elections as candidates, but most importantly as voters.

SANA’A, September 9 — Yemeni women should not be influenced by western concepts, such as the quota system, and want to change their lives accordingly. This was the reaction of political parties to female activists demanding a quota of 30% in the coming parliamentary elections 2009. The debate was part of the Second Democracy Forum organized by Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights in cooperation with National Endowment Development. NGOs representatives and members of the Democracy Forum challenged the political parties’ that as they used women as voters, they must allow them a chance through positive discrimination as candidates.

“Resolving women issues should not be based on a Western concept instead it should be based on Islamic values stemming from the Islamic history,” said Abdulwahab Al-Anisi, Secretary General of the Al-Islah conservative party. He stressed on rejecting the ideas coming from the west as they create ethical ciaos and referred to how the situation for western women is miserable supporting his argument with the statistics of harassment and rape in the western countries.

Frustrated by this attitude, Intisar Sinan, director of the political component of the Woman National Committee said: “This is not acceptable at all. Let us try the quota system and if it does not work we’ll try something else.” She added that democracy as many other concepts have been adopted through western influence so why should the Quota System be any different. (Read on …)

Cabinet’s Election Law Modifications Rejected by JMP

Filed under: Civil Society, Elections, GPC, Judicial, Presidency, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:39 pm on Monday, August 6, 2007

President Saleh to select nine judges who will comprise SCER. Are they joking? Getting ready for Ahmed?

Al-Sahwa

August 01,2007-The Joint Meeting Parties has rejected a decision endorsed by the government on Wednesday aiming to amend the election law.

The head of JMP supreme council, Yaseen Saeed Noaman, said the government’s decision is a breach of the dialogue principles between the JMP and GPC.

“The ruling party carries responsibility for any breakdown of the dialogue” Said he.

“The government decision is a clear-cut violation of the dialogue principles; forming of the supreme committee for election is an issue involved in dialogue agenda” he added.

Noman further said that the decision absolutely contradicts the European Union Election Observation Mission’s recommendations.

The cabinet had approved last Tuesday a draft to amend the articles 19, 21 and 22 of the election and referendum law and referred these amendments to the parliament.

According to amendments, the supreme committee for election and referendum will be formed from 9 judges chosen by the president from among 15 judges appointed by the Higher Judiciary Council.

No its all fine, just fine.

Almotamar.net – Yemen’s minister of legal affairs Dr Rashad al-Rassas said Wednesday the government has the right to approve any legal amendments and refer them to the parliament. He pointed out that approval of the government of a draft amendment to elections and referendum law that the government sent to parliament on Tuesday came on basis of agreement of principles signed by the political parties in June 2006.

Minister al-Rasas added to almotamar.net that drafting the amendment came in accordance with the agreement of principles among the political parties, affirming that the approach the legal end of the period of the Supreme Commission for election next November was the reason that urged the government to adopt the amendment.

The minister added that the amendment of the election law is within the frame of the government implementation of its programme and the platform of the president of the republic both of which contain amendments on many draft laws in including the elections law, adding that they governed by defined dates.

It is to be mentioned that the political parties represented in the dialogue have not abided by naming their representatives to the committee whish was agreed on undertaking drafting amendments of the electoral law except for the General People’s Congress that was the only party to name a representative in it.

The government approved on Tuesday a draft amendment of the elections and referendum law so that it includes the formation of the higher commission for elections composed of nine judges to be appointed by a residential decree.

Parliament to SCER: Pay Up

Filed under: Elections, Parliament, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:08 pm on Wednesday, April 4, 2007

AM:

almotamar.net – A parliamentary report committed the Election Supreme Commission to restore government cars from its former members who are appointed at new positions and also the restoration of pending obligations for the year 2002 whose value amounts to YR 378 million, most of which pertaining to parliamentary elections of 1997 and about YR 27 of which are personal consignments for officials and members of the commission.

While the report of the constitutional affairs committee praised reports of the monitoring apparatus for the years 2001/2002 on measure of the present election commission that settles 55% of those consignments it refused the latter’s justifications regarding the existence of security and tribal problems blocking the return of documents for settling the remaining of the pending assets.

The constitutional committee described understanding of the supreme commission of its financial and administrative independence as wrong and expressed its concern of not implementing a legal entity like the commission of provisions of the law as put by the legislator. It said independence does not mean employing the public property outside stipulations of the laws and regulations. The report also called for activation of internal monitoring inside the election commission in a way guaranteeing rectification of present failures.

US, UN Cut IFES Funds, Forcing Closure

Filed under: Elections, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:38 am on Thursday, February 1, 2007

Federotards. IFES does excellent work in democracy promotion.

NY:
The International Foundation for Elections System informed the General Peoples Congress (GPC) and the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs) its intention to close its office in Sana’a by the end of January due to financial reasons.
The decision to close the office in Sana’a came after the financial support for the office from the United Nations and IFES headquarters in US had come to end and the two organizations refused to offer funds for new projects, a source in IFES told NewsYemen.
The source said that the letter IFES had sent to JMPs and GPC explained the story, preferring not to give more details for media at the moment.

There is a parliamentary election in 2009, or has everyone given up after the stunningly “free and fair” presidential election and the retribution that followed?

Al-Ahmar: Islah allied with GPC

Filed under: Elections, GPC, Political Opposition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:29 pm on Sunday, December 31, 2006

Asharq Al-Awsat Talks to Yemeni MP Sheikh Abdullah Bin-Hussein al-Ahmar

Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat- Sheikh Abdullah Bin-Hussein al-Ahmar, speaker of the Yemeni House of Representatives and leader of the Reform Party, the second largest party in Yemen, talks to Asharq al-Awsat on the latest domestic and regional issues.

The following is the full text of the interview:

(Asharq Al-Awsat) When will the Reform Party’s fourth general congress convene, and what issues will it address?

(Al-Ahmar) The fourth general congress of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform Party will convene in the second half of the month of Muharram (February), as for the issues it will address, they will be the domestic and international issues of the hour.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) What challenges face the Reform Party in this congress?

(Al-Ahmar) The challenges facing the Reform Party are the same organizational challenges that face all parties, but at a Yemeni domestic and internal level, they are the challenges that surface during the election, but we have overcome them. The most important challenge at present is the Palestinian people’s situation and their suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation. The Reform Party takes interest in the Palestinian people’s cause because it is the cause of all Arabs and Muslims.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) Sixteen years have passed since the Reform Party declared itself a political party, what were the main stops along this journey, and what did the party gain from this experience?

(Al-Ahmar) The Yemeni Congregation for Reform has seen many significant stops that you are well aware of, and it no doubt benefited from the elements of this experience and from the endless hardships, obstacles, and embarrassments that came with these stops. We in the Reform Party are ready to deal with any future difficulties.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) What about the changes the congress will introduce to the Reform Party’s leadership?

(Al-Ahmar) If there is a need for change, well, the Reform Party and its cadres respect democracy, and matters within the party progress in a flexible and democratic manner.

(Asharq Al-Awsat) The fourth general congress will mark the end of the current leadership’s era, and there will be a need to elect a new leadership.

(Al-Ahmar) The current leadership of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform has played its role, and the door is again open to elections. (Read on …)

Doctors and Pharmacists Protests Continue in Yemen

Filed under: Civil Society, Corruption, Elections, GPC, Targeting, Unions, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:33 am on Monday, December 18, 2006

These grievances go back to July of 2005 when the fuel subsidies were lifted and a new Wages and Salaries strategy enacted but never implemented.

Teachers are facing similar and worse problems: many have been transferred from their jobs to distant locations in retribution for the teachers strike in March and for participating in the electoral process as opposition activists. Those who refused to go are being threatened with termination, and salaries are being withheld. Considering the state apparatus is at the disposal of the ruling party, politicized employment is one means of repressing democratic progress.

NY

Doctors and Pharmacists are going to make a sit-in before the premises of the Ministers Council next Tuesday to protest the government’s delay to tackle their financial status, accusing the government of attempting to “take away their rights”.
They called upon president Saleh to implement his election program and fulfill his promises to improve the living and scientific standards of workers in health sector.
The syndicate decided to make such a protest because the second year since the Salary and Wages Law was issued is approaching the end while the government did not fulfill its promises it gave for doctors yet, said vice chairman of Doctors and Pharmacists Syndicate, Mohammad al-Wafi.
The syndicate said in a statement that the sit-in would be achieved under the slogan “Protecting our Rights is Respect to our Identity”. It said that doctors and pharmacists rights are confiscated and they should not keep voiceless.
“The government used to mock doctors profession and their rights so it refuses every time to implement laws and decisions related to doctors and pharmacists. We have sent hundreds of letters to the government to improve our conditions like judges and others, but in vain”, said the statement.
The government moves over law, over rights of people and over all values and standards, said the statement.

Update: Here’s more on 400 teachers whose salaries were suspended from al Motamar:

SANA’A- Local sources at Shara’ab district, Taiz governorate, said heads of education centers suspended the November month’s salaries of 400 teachers that amounted to 10 million riyals. Sources told almotamar.net that the education center has granted more than 400 teachers arbitrary dispatching decisions since the beginning of this year in return for illegal payments.
According to the sources, the education center appointed principals without referring them to the Education Office in the governorate, the procedures of which are arbitrary. The educational process in the district is subjected to trafficking, sources added.
The sources further noted a number of schools lack textbooks since the beginning of the academic year. A number of inspectors in the district appealed to the local councils to quickly interfere and release their salaries as well as investigate into the case.

Yet more YT: Teachers threaten to renew strike: (Read on …)

al-Ahmar Dispute with Al-Shater Settled

Filed under: Elections, GPC, Judicial, Political Opposition, Targeting, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:01 am on Thursday, December 14, 2006

al-Motamor, paper of the ruling party:

Almotamar.net – SANA’A- Editor in chief of 26 September newspaper Ali Hassan al-Shater and MP Hamid al-Ahmer agreed on settling their problem intimately.
A press statement published today said the two men agreed to settle their problem as they found that dissension is not appropriate for them, considering reconciliation as a way for maintaining their relations of respect and intimacy. The reconciliation was sponsored by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmer, speaker of the parliament.
The two sides announced they would abdicate the claims against one another.

Census Approved

Filed under: Demographics, Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:11 am on Thursday, December 7, 2006

This is the census that, when I compared it to the final voter registration figures, shows about 400,000 more male voters than voting age men in Yemen. But thats just a little blip among many little blips and should be expected and apparently overlooked according to the EU observers.

SANA’A, Dec 05 (Saba)- The Cabinet approved on Tuesday’s meeting headed by Prime Minister Abdul- Qader Ba-Jammal results of the
population and institutions census carried out in 2004.
Based on the census the total number of the population reached to 21,385,161, from 19,85,161 are resident in Yemen and 1,700,000 are emigrants. The number of male reached to
10,016,137 and female number reached to 9,648,208.

Torture in Yemen: Electricity

Filed under: Elections, Tribes, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 2:09 pm on Friday, November 10, 2006

NY: The security authorities in Hajah released on Wednesday 48 persons, out of 100 detained over tribal conflicts occurred in the local elections last September 20.
Khaled al-Maweri, head of the detainees defense committee, said that the General Prosecution releases those detainees in response to repeated request offered by the committee. He said that the released persons belong to Al-Khamisain tribe in Hajah.
Al-Maweri told NewsYemen that one of the detainees has submitted an official complaint against both the Criminal Investigation Department and Security Office in Hajah which he said tortured him with electricity and beating by stick and other materials. Al-Maweri said the committee is awaiting the report of the Medical Investigation.
Al-Maweri confirmed that other persons, who were in detention, are now preparing to file cases against the same bodies for torture.
Security source in Haja told NewsYemen, on condition of anonymity, that such claims were untrue and that the detainees subjected to normal investigations.
Meanwhile, sheikh of Al-Khamisain, Nasser Daqeen, said that security authority in Hajah ended a security campaign that lasted in the area for month and a half under the pretext of chasing suspects involved in killing the district director Ahmad al-Taheri on the day of polling, September 20.

Still Voting

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:16 am on Monday, November 6, 2006

(almotamar.net) – SANA’A – Head of Legal Affairs Sector at the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) Dr. Abdul-Moamen Shuja’ said the SCER has received judicial judgments on re-voting in 5 different districts.
In a statement to almotamar.net, Shuja’ stated there are other verdicts stating the SCER has to repeat the vote-counting process in two local constituencies, and re-voting will take place in other three local constituencies.

The SCER is keen to stick to the implementation of such verdicts during the complementary elections to be held next month in different districts.
According to Shuja’, the complementary elections are to be held in 30 districts, and that the voting process didn’t take place or complete in 25 districts and the re-voting process will be in the remaining 5 districts.
the time span between 13 to 22 of November the date of receiving applications of candidacy and the period of 22 to 23 of the same month as a date for withdrawal, and that the announcement of elections results on 19th of December next.

The presidential elections were held on 20th of last September resulted in the winning of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the candidate of the General People’s Congress by 77.17% against 21.81% of the JMP candidate.

Post-Election Issues in Yemen

Filed under: Economic, Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:28 am on Thursday, November 2, 2006

Oped ed by Nabil al-Soufi, editor of the News Yemen website:

The elections have come to an end and Yemen has returned to everyday life.

We are not in Los Angeles or in Chicago.We are also not in London where the political party announces the end of its leaders, as what happened to the leader of the Conservative Party Margaret Thatcher and now the process for Labour Party leader Tony Blair.

We are not even in the villages of the south of Lebanon or the refugee camp of Jenin in Palestine where the municipalities undertake everyday affairs of the people.

We are in Yemeni governorates with provincial capitals without clean water distribution in addition to incomplete paving of streets in even the rich residential quarters, let alone the poor areas of the town.

We are in Yemen where the presidential house is more important and more expensive. Small business shops, built into the sides of houses, pay high rent and have trouble staying in afloat. But in the presidential house billions of dollars are gathered and spent in the blink of the eye similar to the princedom house in Kuwait or Abu Dhabi and the King’s Palace in Riyadh.

The meaning is that we are a weak country not just in its financial capabilities but also in infrastructure. This is not the main problem. We are talking about the biggest political activity in the region, but also we talk about a country the politics in it has relationship with the daily life of the citizens except if we were to consider the providing of a theoretical substance for qat-chewing sessions as a national task.

I listen to a cassette of a fluent preacher talking about excessive wealth as a cause of evil and know he has brought cassettes to a country different from his own. Nonetheless, his preaching finds a good market where the poor segment of the people listens carefully to warnings of richness though there is no one rich among them. I wonder how to compare properties of the group of Hayel Saeed inside the boundaries of Yemen to one of the companies of Bin Laden in Saudi or Ammar the Emirates? I can say that the profits of one year of Natco or the National Dairies Company can be compared to profits of their similar ones in the neighboring countries in one month. What is meant in the two cases is to say that our problems are fully separated from our culture, whether religious or administrative or financial policies.

Re-arrangement of awareness (Read on …)

Revoting in Yemen

Filed under: A-INTERNAL, Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:19 pm on Friday, October 20, 2006

a do-over

SANA’A, Oct. 18 — The Appeal Court in Lahj told the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum to repeat local council elections in one of the voting centers in Al-Had District, Yafe’e, within 60 days.

The main committee in the district and the supervisory committee in the governorate announced earlier that the local council candidate of Joint Meeting Parties at the governorate level, Ali Mohamed Saleh won 5034 votes, compared to 4734 votes for his closest rival.

The verdict was issued following a vote result challenge filed by the local council candidate of General People Congress against the JMP candidate’s victory.

The commission for elections is expected to call on Yemeni voters in 5 districts and 80 voting centers to revote in the complementary elections in these districts and centers where the poll process was suspended during the election.

The Election Law stipulates that complementary elections must be conducted in any voting centers or districts where the vote result was cancelled or the poll process suspended within three months following the date of cancelling the vote result.

(Read on …)

Voting to be Completed Shortly

Filed under: A-INTERNAL, Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:52 am on Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sana’a, Oct. 18(NewsYemen.net)- The Supreme Commission for Elections andReferendum (SCER) has decided to complete polling in election
constituencieswhere “people could not vote on September 20 for some problems.”

Head of the Technical Affairs in the SCER, Mohammad al-Sayani, told NewsYementhat the different sectors of the commission had started
preparing forlocal and presidential polling next December in 80 election centers andsome constituencies in five districts.

Al-Sayani said that voters in those centers would also vote for presidential candidates without respect to the result announced and
that the new numberof voters would be added to votes for each candidate.

He said the commission had excluded voting in Sirar district of Abyan province where voters refused to vote.

The SCER announced the local constituencies in 12 governorates where polling has been hampered and results have not been announced due to
tensionsbetween candidates or between locals.

Extra Month Salaries

Filed under: A-INTERNAL, Corruption, Elections, GPC, Oil, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:19 am on Tuesday, October 17, 2006

YT

Another reason is frankly attributed to the additional salary awarded to all government employees right before election day. This move persuaded many people to vote for the ruling party. “We had one concern in our lives, poverty. When the president ordered one salary extra, that concern seemed to vanish temporarily and we went to vote feeling pleased with the government,” according to my aunt, a teacher in a village in Taiz governorate.

Canadian oil firm Nexen refused to pay the additional month’s wages but the other oil companies complied.

Local Vote Counting Flawed: Islah

Filed under: A-INTERNAL, Elections, Political Opposition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:00 am on Monday, October 16, 2006

YT

The Islah Party critized the handling of the election results by the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum

The problem is not with the announced results, but with those who are still frozen and further the ruling party broke into the polling centers and confiscated the documents and minutes which were signed by one party, said Ibrahim Al-Hayer, in charge of elections office affiliated with Islah Party, in a press statement.

Additionally, Al-Hayer accused the ruling party of confiscating polling boxes in Sa’ada governorate and other districts including Sharaab, Al-Salam in Taiz, Al-Zaher in Al-Jawf and some other districts in Ibb and Hajjah.

He also pointed out the suspended centers are those of opposition, noting some centers submitted appeals to judiciary in Aden and Ibb and the judiciary approved their victory there; however, results are still suspended.

He further expressed his sorrow for the way by which the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum dealt with the election results, accusing the commission of being “run from outside.”

Official Local Results

Filed under: A-INTERNAL, Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:59 am on Thursday, October 12, 2006

Reportedly, in some districts the number of votes exceeded the number of registered voters. The local numbers for the GPC correspond nicely with the percentages attributed to Saleh in the presidental election, but it took several weeks of vote counting to accomplish that.

YO: The Supreme Commission for the Elections and Referendum officially declared on Monday that the General People’s Congress got the majority of seats in the local elections held on September 20th. GPC candidates got 315 seats in the local councils of the governorates, and 5,078 seats in the local councils of the districts. (Read on …)

Governors to be elected from local council members

Filed under: Elections, Reform, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:02 am on Saturday, October 7, 2006

Elected by the general public or elected by the local councils? There’s a big difference.

Considering how very successful the recent elections were, there’s no reason the governors shouldn’t be directly elected. If they are elected by the GPC dominated local councils, it’s nearly the same as being appointed.

Update: the elected councils will elect the governors. Well, its a step in the right direction.

SANA’A, Oct. 06 (Saba)-President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Friday that
the governors and directors of districts will be elected.

Speaking to attendants in Afta banquet held in presidential palace, president
Saleh said that a committee was formed to draw timetable and plans to
carry our hi electoral program.

The plans and timetable will be announced soon, he said.

He said that a new page will be opened with Joint Meeting Parties in particular
and opposition parties in general.

He called on all to gather efforts to build the nation and enhance freedom
and democracy that realize security and stability as well as comprehensive
development.

He said that he has asked the government to make amendment on law of local
authority to elect governors and director of districts.

“We will make an end for centralization and strengthen decentralization,”
he said.

He made it clear that the governors and directors of districts will be
elected directly from members of the local councils.

He announced that any official would not stay more than four years in
his position, saying that a law will be issued over setting up independent
body for combating corruption.

In his speech, president welcomed local and foreign investments in the
country.

“We will offer all facilities to investors to create jobs for jobless
people,” he said.

He concluded by congratulated people and attendants on holy month of Ramadan.

More from Saleh:

“Tonight, I’m announcing a great surprise for our citizens in implementing the president’s electoral platform and that is to elect governors, district heads and local council secretaries-general via local authority members who are elected by the people,” Saleh said.

He added that financial and administrative decentralization will replace the current centralization system, wherein the local authority is authorized with all powers and authority.

Secondly, he announced rotating public employment positions so that “no government official’s stay will exceed four years in any state institution.”

Affirming his fight against corruption, Saleh stated that an independent national committee will fight corruption and corrupt individuals. Another independent committee regarding tenders and bidding also will be established, he added.

Lastly, Saleh asserted that a new page will be opened with opposition and the JMP. “Although JMP election address was characterized in a manner of upheaval under the umbrella of democracy, we’ll brush that aside and start a new page with them and with opposition parties in general, even those that called for a public coup. We’ll do this because our homeland is more precious than any one individual or group,” he noted. (Read on …)

Extra Months Wages Promised Before the Election

Filed under: Corruption, Economic, Elections, Oil, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:59 am on Saturday, October 7, 2006

for oil workers but I thought it was the military too.

The Canadian firm Nexen is refusing to pay, considering it corruption. I would call it bribery. The EU observers called it use of “state resources in favor of the ruling party’s candidate” that had no impact on the outcome of the election.

YOThe employees of Canadian Nexen Petroleum Company have threatened to go on strike as early as next week, because the administration has yet to pay them the extra month wages as instructed by President Saleh prior the election.

The employees union at the company demands that their extra wages be paid immediately, as this obligation has already been fulfilled by every other oil company. The deputy head of Nexen stated in a conference with union members that his company considered the payment of these extra wages corruption and hush money. He refused to sign the payroll, and the union has further demanded an apology and intends to take legal action against him. A source at the company said that the employees began to protest after the manager refused to disburse the salaries on the 24th of last month. He immediately received complaints about his refusal, which is required for the entire oil industry.

The source added that what started as partial strike will turn into a full strike until their needs are met. In addition to receiving their salaries, the employees expect an apology from the company’s deputy manager. The source said that their requests were found to be legitimate by the minister of oil and minerals, the minister of finance, and the chairman of oil exploration and production, all of whom have urged the company to comply with the president’s decree. The company is a joint public/private venture, and the government underwrites 78 percent of the general payments and the employee’s salaries of the company.

SANA’A – al-Motamar-His Excellency President Ali Abdullah Saleh have ordered the government authorities concerned to pay the October salaries to government employees in advance, September.net reported. The State’s administrative staff and civil service employees are to get their salaries for the current month in advance. This presidential order coincides with the holy occasion of Eid Al-Fitr as well as the Yemeni revolution anniversaries (September 26th, October 14th, and November 30th).

Activists Detained, Election Results Refused by Electoral Commission

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:48 am on Thursday, October 5, 2006

NY:

Eight activists in the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs), opposition coalition, from Mawiah, Jabal Habashi and Taiziah district on Taiz governorate are still detained since the polling day over election-related issues, official source in JMPs said.
Head of the executive committee of JMPs, Abdul-Jalil Saeed, told NewsYemen the eight activists are accused by the ruling party of committing crimes during election processes. He said the eight members of JMPs asked to be moved to the specialized Prosecution and that the leadership of JMPs has summoned lawyers to follow the case.
On the other hand, a huge number of people made a sit-in on Tuesday outside the election Supervisory Committee in Mothaikhera district in Ibb protesting the detention of Mokhtar Hamoud Sarhan, head of the main committee, but the Supervisory Committee did not respond to their request.
Local sources said that Sarhan offered the final minute of the polling result in the district to the Supervisory Committee, but the committee refused the result which was in favor the JMPs and said it should be revised. It said that Sarahan is detained by the committee after he had spent two days in the criminal investigation prison.
The protestors said they would continue the sit-in.
The JMPs asked the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum to quickly intervene to stop such “terrorist acts”.

Local Council Legal Actions: 245

Filed under: Elections, Judicial, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:28 am on Wednesday, October 4, 2006

26 Sept: The Minister of Justice, Ghazi al-Aghbari stated on Tuesday that the courts were looking at 245 electoral contests of local councils elections. Al-Aghbari said that Taiz governorate ranked first place in number of contexts with 54 contests and Amran came next with 21 contests. Al-Aghbari said that courts were hearing on those contests to deliver decisions within the legal period that would not exceed 10 days after submitting the appeals.

1- Sana’a and Jouf 12
2- Hadramout 5 (Read on …)

No Final Results at the Local Level

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:00 am on Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Its nearly two weeks and still the final results aren’t certified.

YO: The General People’s Congress triumphed over the Joint Meeting Parties in local council elections, winning 80 percent of the seats at the governorate level. The GPC won 350 governorate-level seats; Independents won 40 seats; while the Islah Party earned only 36 seats.

The Yemeni Socialist Party won 16 seats and one seat went to another political party. At the district level, the GPC won 4,400 local council seats of the total 6,896 seats available, said Dr. Mohammed al-Sayyani, Head of the Technical Sector of the Supreme Commission of Elections and Referendum. The Islah Party won 720 seats; the YSP won 160; and the independents won 480.

The competition for 431 local council seats at the governorate level involved 1,634 candidates, 22 of whom were women, representing political parties and independents. Moreover, 19,027 candidates, 125 of whom were women, competed for 6,896 seats at the district level. However, the figures given here were made available late Monday by the SCER. No final result has been announced so far and all attempts to contact the commission failed. (Read on …)

Report on Media Performance during Elections

Filed under: Elections, Media, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:45 pm on Saturday, September 23, 2006

Report on Monitoring Media Performance during Presidential and Local Councils’ Elections Campaign, Yemen 2006

Preface:
Media freedom is one of the major components of democracy. Democracy is a polity that has four basic components: legal framework that acknowledges human rights for all citizens and guarantees their equality before law; government institutions that ensures enforcement of law indiscriminately and work with efficiency and integrity to enable citizens to enjoy their human rights; and civil society organizations that defend economic, social and cultural human rights for all people and facilitate their political participation through fair and free electoral process to contest over political power; and finally respect and provision of political and civil rights to all citizens on top of which freedom of expression which can only be attained through free press, thereby press is the major component of democratic system. (Read on …)

Results disputed

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:44 pm on Saturday, September 23, 2006

Not a SCER consensus, and the JMP claims to have proof of 2 million votes wrongly counted:

al-Jazeera:
On Saturday they slammed as “illegal” the victory of Saleh after final results were announced.

Ali al-Sarari, the spokesman of the opposition Common Forum, which had fielded Shamlan to challenge Saleh, said: “We reject this result which is illegal, and came through a presidential order,”

“We have documents that prove the forging of two million votes, which were for Shamlan but were counted in favour of Saleh,” he said, shortly after the results of the polls were confirmed officially.

He charged that the results were “false” claiming that three members of the election commission “expressed reservations” over the figures.

If the JMP has proof of two million votes changed, they should run not walk to the nearest Baroness and get it documented.

To undermine the legitimacy of the outcome of the elections is a dangerous move, so they had better be right and furthermore be able to back their statements with proof. To say there was more tampering (by far) than the observers noted is one thing, this is another.

If they are right, they deserve an opportunity to prove it and be heard. And have the results changed and recertified.

But everybody has to tread very carefully. Over 100 people were killed in the 2005 fuel riots within two days. No one wants violence now. However, whoever the most people for voted for should be president.

There should be a way to accomplish an authentification of the results to the satisfaction of all concerned parties that doesn’t spiral out of control.

YM:

“The result is illegal and it was not issued by a responsible body, the result was not based on the minutes from the provinces,” Ali Al Sarari, JMPs spokesman told the Gulf News.

” It is a repetition of the announcement of the SCER before the vote counting began, when the SCER chairman said Saleh got 80 per cent,” he said.

Three of the 9-member SCER have reservations over the results, he added.

Meanwhile, some intellectuals criticised the opposition call for protests over alleged vote fraud. They urged both the ruling and opposition parties to arbitrate the reason, logic and wisdom to solve their disputes over the September 20th elections results.

Earlier, the JMPs threatened with taking to streets if votes are not re-counted under UN supervision.

“The JMPs have all the right to defend the exact percentage they got, but they should stay away from exaggeration, and threatening with taking to streets is not a logic option,” said Ali Saif Hassan, chairman of the Political Development Forum, a local NGO.

“I wish Ramadan will help both sides get rid of fatigue and mental tire after the tensions of the elections and that Ramadan will probably get them back to the reason and logic,” Hussan said.

Hussan expected that a deal would be made between the ruling party and the opposition coalition with the objective of avoiding any violence that may lead to “bad consequences”.

“The parties of the political system here in Yemen usually keep negotiating and nagging at each other for longtime but at the end of the day they reach an agreement by the reason and logic because they know well each other,” Hussan said.

The dispute between the two sides is only over a low percentage which is not more than 10 percent.

On his part, Abdul Bari Taher, former chairman of the Journalists Syndicate, “The controversy and disputes over the percentage of each side should be solved democratically.”

Each side should arbitrate the reason and logic and they should get convinced of the results of balloting boxes without tensions, conflicts, problems or extortion.

Yemen, he added, has achieved a great success in terms of the emerging democracies.

“I am sure every side will refer back to the reason, logic and wisdom to decide the legitimacy of the elections.

” Yemen needs to renew its legitimacy and also needs to do more comprhensives reforms to realize the ambitions and aspirations of the people who went to the polling stations with the hope of bettering standard of living,” he said.

Its a good time for everyone to display their political maturity and proceed in a thoughtful manner with the end result being an authentic vote count and a consensus on its legitimacy.

And then, al-Shami belittless Qahtan on al-Jazeera.

Inches from Democracy, Saleh Blows the Election

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Elections, Yemen, attacks — by Jane Novak at 9:14 am on Tuesday, September 19, 2006

That’s Yemeni President Saleh’s cousin-in-law in the picture Saleh is holding. Saleh is accusing him of being an al-Qaeda terrorist. The man briefly worked as a bodyguard for the opposition presidential candidate, Faisel Bin Shamlan.

The press conference was carried on the government controlled national TV. The election is being held tomorrow and is hotly contested by the opposition coalition. For its part, the opposition says it discovered Hussain was a government intelligence agent and fired him after eight days.

With today’s arrest, Al-Motarmar’s headline is “JMP involved in terror attacks: Saleh”

From SABA, the official news agency of Yemen:

SANA’A, (Sabanet) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh stated during a press conference in the presidential palace on Tuesday that the security authorities had arrested a major terrorist who on charge of planning to attack US interests and Movambique Hotel.

The president said that the terrorist Hussein Ahmed is seen standing behind the opposition Joint Meeting Parties’ candidate to the presidential elections Faisal bin Shamlan in one of his electoral rallies, showing a photo affirmed what he said.

“when the securities authorities had arrested the man, they found with him an amount of dynamites, pointing out that his standing behind the JMP’s candidate raised a lot of questions.

It raises a lot of questions and they are all about President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

And one more question, can’t they keep the “terrorist’s” name straight: is it Hussein Ahmed, Hussein Dharhani, Hussein al-Jirdani, or Hussain al-Darajani? He is married to Saleh’s cousin, according to a press release from the opposition coalition, the JMP. Saleh should know his name.

Televised Debate

Filed under: Elections, Media, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:33 am on Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Excellent for all concerned, a televised debate, the embodiment of the marketplace of ideas:

NY: The Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER), called all political parties participating in the upcoming elections to select persons to represent their candidates in a TV debate over the election programs.
The commission, which did not appoint a date for the TV debate, called also for supporting female candidates in the upcoming municipal elections that coincide with the presidential elections in 20 September, 2006.
Head of the Information Sector in the SCER, Abdu al-Janadi, urged in a press conference on Sunday at the election media center the parties to help female candidates succeed in the local contest.
“It is shame to get female candidate failed,” said al-Janadi.
Head of Civil Society Organizations Sector in the election commission, Alawi al-Mashhour, also called parties to mobilize their members and advocates to vote for female candidates, partisan or independent.
Al-Mashhour said the number of candidates for local elections reached 18762 including 6793 independents, 6659 for GPC, 3636 for Islah, 891 for the Yemeni Socialist party and 205 for the Nasserite Unionist Congregation party. The rest candidates belong to other 21 parties.
Al-Janadi continued to call upon the drivers of military and governmental cars to pull out the pictures of what he said “one of the presidential candidates”, referring to the pictures of the GPC candidate Ali Abdullah Saleh. He warned that SCER might make checkpoints to seize those cars which do break the elections law.
“They can express their love for the candidate when they go to ballots, not by breaching law,” said al-Janadi.
For the first time since the election campaigns of the presidential candidates have started, al-Janadi warned Somali refugees of being hired to tear up the pictures of candidates.
“Somali refugees are our guests and we understand their crisis, but they should not be involved in such illegal acts,” said al-Janadi.

Saleh’s Election Program

Filed under: Elections, Presidency, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:54 am on Friday, September 8, 2006

He’s going to make things better by making them better:

The Election Program Of Ali Abdullah Saleh

Candidate of the General People ‘ s Congress to the 2006 Presidential Election

IN THE NAME OF GOD, MOST GRACIOUS, MOST MERCIFUL

‘’ And say: ‘’Work (righteousness): soon will ALLAH

observe your work, and His Messenger, and the Believers.”

Yemen was witnessing before the 17th. July 1978 very critical and complicated situations including bloody conflicts between the two parts, instability, absence of the state’s role and its institutions, lack of security, safety, freedom and dignity. Therefore, and since the first moment we had accepted the leadership of the country, establishing security, stability and building a Yemeni modern state were on top of our priority.

With building up the state of institutions and prevalence of law and order, and in cooperation with all sincere and loyal citizens, we had been able to achieve accomplishments and changes in political, democratic, economic, social, cultural, security and military fields. On top of those accomplishments was the unification of the homeland on the 22nd. May 1990 as well as protecting it in accordance with the principles of the Yemeni revolution and sacrifices of martyrs.

We spared no effort for the achievement of the national aspirations of our people who trusted us to lead the homeland to the paths of freedom, unity, democracy, and comprehensive development and progress. While bearing the responsibility either before or after unity we have and still adopting the ethics of tolerance, dialogue and amnesty. We were keen to adopt a national, rational and moderate policy based on the homeland and people’s supreme interests and to cement national unity and social peace. (Read on …)

Bin Shamlan Platform Illegal

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:16 pm on Thursday, August 24, 2006

The SCER objects to certain phrases in the JMP platform as libelous, yet all of these statements are true.

almotamar.net – SANA’A- The Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) has asked the Joint Meeting Parties’ presidential candidate to reconsider his election platform as it contains many legal violations that could render him accountable by law.
The SCER has sent a formal letter to Faisal bin Shamlan explaining to him the flaws in his platform that violate the instructions of the Elections Publicity Guide. The letter cited instances of libel and unreferenced figures and information, demanding that the candidate either mention the source of the platform-included figures or remove them as per law.
The letter reads as follows:
Mr. Faisal Othman bin Shamlan
Joint Meeting Parties’ Presidential Candidate
Greetings,
Pursuant to the SCER’s decision to refer the presidential candidates’ platforms to the Legal and Media & Election Publicity sectors for review and ascertaining that their contents are legally sound, and pursuant to the remarks submitted by the above two sectors following their review of the platforms, and pursuant to the review and approval of the SCER in its minute of meeting No. (61) dated Aug 20, 2006, in which it approved sending letters to the concerned candidates to redraft the statements and phrases included in their platforms that violate the provisions of the law and its executive statute and the Elections Publicity Guide, therefore, we, based on the abovementioned, would like to advise you that your election platform has invited the following observations:
The phrase on page (1), lines (13 and 14), reads, “transcending sadness and crises left by long years of tyranny, corruption, deprivation and clinging to power.”
The phrase on page (2), lines (7 and eight) reads, “the general conditions in the country due to the absence of the state of law and institutions, and lack of equality and justice and the concentration of power in the hand of the State’s head.”
The phrase on page (6), lines (19, 20, 21) reads “and general nationalism has lost its neutrality and has become a means for the ruling party and dominant powers to serve their interests.”
The statement on page (7), lines (16-21) reads “the accessible predictive data and indicators show that only five national resources wasted in 2006 an estimated amount of 1200 billion (one trillion and two hundred billions) which counts for the difference between the actual oil price and the budget-approved oil price as well as the tax and customs loss all of which represent a massive wealth and a shadow budget that exceeds the State’s –announced- general budget, and is expended in the interest of the corrupt and influential persons in the authority and ruling party.”
The phrase on page (18), line (17) reads, “because of the outstanding corruption and his failure to fulfill his commitments.”
The aforesaid statements and phrases included in your election platform are under the two prohibitions provided for in articles No. (33, 38, and 52) of the Elections and Referendum Law No. (13) for the year 2001 and the amendments thereto as well as articles No. (8, 5, 10, and 11) of the Presidential Elections Publicity Guide 2006. In implementation of the SCER’s decision, we hope that they would be deleted or redrafted in such a manner as to comply with the law and its executive statute as well as the Presidential Elections Publicity Guide. You may criticize corruption without libel or slandering lest you and the SCER be rendered liable to contests before courts for violating law.
Your platform also contains a statement on page (2), lines (13 and 14) that reads, “and the rise in unemployment to high levels worldwide as total unemployment is estimated at 43% and impoverishment and abject poverty has spread so much that it covers some 59% of the population.” This statement includes figures and statistical information without citing the source or the entity from which you received them. You should delete these figures and information from your platform in case you do not explain them because they are under the two prohibitions provided for in Article No. (38) of the General Elections and Referendum Law No. (13) for the year 2001 and the amendments thereto as well as Article No. (10) of the Presidential Elections Publicity Guide.

Faisel bin Shamlan Interview

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:25 am on Thursday, July 6, 2006

bin Shamlan interview News Yemen:

Faisal bin Othman bin Shamlan was born in 1934 in Ghail Bawazeer district of Hadhramout. He is practical since early years of his productive life. He had B.A degree in the Civil Engineering from the King Stone University in Britain. He was able to keep on good relations with the two agents of the cold war in Yemen: the Yemeni Muslim Brothers and the Yemeni Socialist party.
After the 1994 summer war bin Shamlan was appointed as minister of oil, but he soon resigned because he could not coexist with government’s mess.
In the house of his son-in-law in Aser area of Sana’a, I interviewed bin Shamlan who was nominated by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs) as their candidate to run the upcoming presidential elections:

* Newsyemen: In general, what is your view over the presidential elections?
- Bin Shamlan: The constitution and law rule the presidential election, i.e. how the voters should perform and how the campaigns should go is certain.
I think the enthusiasm of people to vote in elections will be more than previous elections because the opposition has a candidate. In the previous elections the opposition has not a candidate so the people participation was only 23%.
(Read on …)

Yemeni Opinion on the Elections

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:03 am on Thursday, June 22, 2006

from the award winning Yemen Times

In order to achieve the aforementioned vision we, in my opinion, have to do the following. First, we have to leave the ruler to decompose out of his obstinacy and arrogance. His power is responsible for the forging of elections. His power has brought about different economical, social, political, and to some extent, factional problems. When the JMP does not present a candidate, the ruler will be compelled to beg the JMP for national and political consensus or resort to picking a weak candidate from his entourage.

Second, we have to leave Saleh to stand alone as a candidate for the presidency, wearing his megalomaniac attire. Recalling Al-Hamidi’s murder in a secondhand market on 45 Meter Street, the nature of the regime’s detestable fanaticism has gone far beyond the constitution and the law. The crime plays a part in unveiling the illegitimacy of power since the Law of Penalty states in the Article 23 that an accomplice to a crime is one who provides assistance to some party who intends to commit a crime.

This crime, and similar mayhem, will be a rich issue for uncovering the regime’s corruption that aims to exploit power for another seven years. Each Sanhani working in the Special Forces, the Republican Guard, and National Security will be able to walk on the dignity of the people after such a continuation of Saleh’s rule.

Read it all, it’s very interesting.

Also this one is interesting:

One should not reduce the significance of the dialogue sponsored by Saleh. All Yemenis know that the Parliament and the Shoura Council are facades that have no relation to legislation. Neither institution has the authority to monitor the executive branch nor force it to account for its actions. Therefore, both bodies lack efficiency and independence.

Agreements between the government and the Opposition have shortcomings as they do not provide cures for our crisis. This raises the question: “Do the requirements for real competition exist?”

The government and the Opposition agree on partial solutions associated with reforming electoral mechanisms. Both sides have agreed on the revision of voter registration lists; however, the most urgent issues are those related to the construction of a modern state based on law and order.

As the government and the Opposition have agreed on methods of monitoring the polls, the ball is now in the Opposition’s court. Will the Opposition nominate its own presidential candidate? Will it recommend an independent candidate? Or will the Opposition sell itself out in a bargain with Saleh over the upcoming elections?

Fraudulent Voter Registration Proceeding Well In Yemen

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 8:57 am on Sunday, May 7, 2006

A report issued by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP). Issue No. (4).

Giving electoral cards to the children,

means the failure of the Supreme

Using the public money and jobs:

Constituency No. Center Date The Violation
84 ي 23/4/2006 The main place of the center was moved from Al-Mishraq school to the new center (the infirmary) after received an order from the director of Ibb province Mohammed Al-Muraisy
35 ح 23/4/2006 The observer Faris Abdullah Ali Al-Mikhlaffi was aggressed.
44 ا,ب,ز,ي 23/4/2006 Observers of Free Press Organization were not allowed to enter to the center, pretexting that they have received an oral generalization from the main committee.
70 ب 23/4/2006 Women observers were not allowed to enter to the center by the men subcommittee.
70 ب 23/4/2006 A woman observer was prevented from existing into the subcommittee by so-called Basam Mohammed Hassen (GPC).
194 ب,و 23/4/2006 Observers of Free Press Organization Aziz Mohammed Rashid, Amin Mohammed Al-Hajri and Bdoor Al-Ansi were fired by the security committee.
220 ش 23/4/2006 An observer of Free Press Organization Abdul Ghani Ali Al-Hadrami was not allowed to enter to the center.
220 ش 23/4/2006 Although Adel Al-Hadrami is not a member of the committee, he interferes in its works.

Committee. Using the public money and jobs:

Constituency No. Center Date The Violation
84 ي 23/4/2006 The main place of the center was moved from Al-Mishraq school to the new center (the infirmary) after received an order from the director of Ibb province Mohammed Al-Muraisy
35 ح 23/4/2006 The observer Faris Abdullah Ali Al-Mikhlaffi was aggressed.
44 ا,ب,ز,ي 23/4/2006 Observers of Free Press Organization were not allowed to enter to the center, pretexting that they have received an oral generalization from the main committee.
70 ب 23/4/2006 Women observers were not allowed to enter to the center by the men subcommittee.
70 ب 23/4/2006 A woman observer was prevented from existing into the subcommittee by so-called Basam Mohammed Hassen (GPC).
194 ب,و 23/4/2006 Observers of Free Press Organization Aziz Mohammed Rashid, Amin Mohammed Al-Hajri and Bdoor Al-Ansi were fired by the security committee.
220 ش 23/4/2006 An observer of Free Press Organization Abdul Ghani Ali Al-Hadrami was not allowed to enter to the center.
220 ش 23/4/2006 Although Adel Al-Hadrami is not a member of the committee, he interferes in its works.

Stopping the committee works:

Constituency No. Center Date The Violation
36 ي 23/4/2006 Sending complaints to the supervisory committee, because of stopping the work of the committee.
45 ن 23/4/2006 Continuing stopping of men and women subcommittee works since Friday, because of the unavailability of application forms.
75 أ2 23/4/2006 Stopping of committee’s works, because of the unavailability of cards and films.
82 ش 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
84 ي 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
86 ز,ك 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
87 د 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of the availability of only two committee members.
87 ز 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
89 ب،أ،و،ط،ح 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
93 د 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
94 ج 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
95 ك,ي 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
97 أ،ك،ي،ح،ز،هـ 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
102 ي،ز 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
106 م،ز،ل 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
111 ز 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of arm-conflicts between the two tribes (Bani Hussain & Bani Salah).
112 ز،ح،ط 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
113 ط،س،ز،ح،ك 23/4/2006 Stopping of recording, because of decreasing documents and films.
135 غ 23/4/2006 Stopping of committee’s works since Thursday till Saturday, because the committee was not received except ten cards.

A report issued by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP). Issue No. (5).

(1224) legal violations of the Supreme Committee for Elections and Referendum (SCER) till now, and here are some models of them :

Hindering observers’ work:

Constituency No. Center Date The Violation
34 24/4/2006 A group of the (GPC) has aggressed on the observer (Majid Assaeedi) and the police interfered in the quarrel and arrested him.
35 24/4/2006 Preventing observers from entering into the committee till the afternoon.
35 24/4/2006 Observers were bothered by the basic committee and members of security committees.
290 24/4/2006 The committee has rejected the observer (Hammid Abdu Assellahi).
123 24/4/2006 Illegally staying of persons in the committee.
9 24/4/2006 The committee didn’t register anybody but who brings photographs with him, because of running out of films.
9 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work the whole day because of running out of films.
17 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the evening because of running out of cards.
19 24/4/2006 The registration process was stopped after 10 o’clock AM.
35 24/4/2006 The cards were finished in the center.
35 24/4/2006 No films in the center during the morning.
35 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work on 23/4/2006 in all centers, because of running out of films.
52 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work on 23/4/2006 in two centers, because of running out of films.
61 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of running out of films.
61 24/4/2006 The committee has left its place at 4 o’clock PM without any reason.
84 24/4/2006 The registration process was stopped, because of running out of films.
86 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of running out of films.
87 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of running out of films.
95 24/4/2006 The leader of the subcommittee hiders the process of registration, and registered her self twice in the same center (g) with different numbers records (1) and (127).
228 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
95 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
97 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
99 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
102 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
105 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
106 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
107 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
113 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
119 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
121 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
168 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
192 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
197 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
204 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
205 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
215 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
287 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of unavailable films.
109 24/4/2006 The registration process was stopped, because of (Faisal Mus’ad and Khalil Abu-hajerrah) the responsible in the ruling party.
179 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of running out of cards.
215 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of running out of cards.
205 24/4/2006 Only one person registered through the whole day, because of slowing in the process of the registration.
207 24/4/2006 The committee registers only at 4 o’clock and for half hour.
207 24/4/2006 The registration was stopped from the beginning till the afternoon.
215 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of running out of cards and films.
216 24/4/2006 The subcommittee (women) has arrived for the first time at 10 o’clock am from the beginning of the process of the registration on 18/4/2006.
217 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center because of absence of the committee (women) without any reason till now.
221 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center from last Friday to Monday 23/4/2006, because of running out of cards and films.
280 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center for two consecutive days, because of running out of cards.
287 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of running out of cards and films.
291 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center, because of running out of cards and films.
296 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center from the first day, because of running out of films.
298 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in the center from the first day, because of running out of films.
298 24/4/2006 Although the committee saw visited by the supervisory committee, the committee stopped its work in the center, because of running out of films.
299 أ,ب,ج,ن,ي 24/4/2006 The committee stopped its work in all centers, because of running out of cards and films.

Under age registration :

Constituency No. Center Date The Violation
17 ز 24/4/2006 Under age students were registered in the center.
17 ط 24/4/2006 Under age school students were registered in the center, even-though it is outside of the center.
30 ب 24/4/2006 Registering of the under age students without ID cards, and staying a teacher and the director of the school in the committee for facilitating the process of registration.
31 أ 24/4/2006 The under age kid (Samar Shookri) was registered by the committee, under number of (1760).
31 هـ 24/4/2006 The under age kids were registered by the sub-committee from outside the area.
35 ب 24/4/2006 The following under age kids were registered :
Mohammed Abdu Khalid (2250).
Abdu Al-Azziz Hamoud Ahmed (2251).
Hammed Nabil Tahir (2252).
Taha Abdu Ahmed (2270).
Nawar Assaid Ali (2271).
Mohammed Hamoud Hassen (2236).

35 ي 24/4/2006 The following soldiers, who live in Hoban area, were recognized by the head of neighborhood :
Nassir Ali Mohammed (2521).
Mohammed Ali Sultan (2514).

35 ي،ح،ز،د 24/4/2006 Registering the following under age kids :
Malik Mohammed Abdurrahman (2496).
Saddam Abdullah Abdu Saeed (2519).
Sabbir Naji Mohammed (2322).
Fahmiah Abdullah Saif (7318).
Ra’ad Abdu Saif (1884).
Salah Ka’eed Mohammed (1885).
Fawzi Ahmed Ka’eed (1895).
Khaqlah Hamoud Mahube.

41 د 24/4/2006 The fourth level students were obligated to enroll their names in the election list.
203 ب 24/4/2006 Fifty kids were registered at the first days of the registration process and 27 of them were revealed.
203 ب 24/4/2006 Some women enroll their names several times using different names and photos.
207 أ 24/4/2006 The following under age kids were registered by the committee under the following numbers: (from 1397 to 1408), (from 1413 to 1427) and (from 1429 to 1433)
207 ك 24/4/2006 The students were threaten to be failed by the director of the school unless they register their names in the election list, even though they under ages
209 ز 24/4/2006 The committee members are threaten by sheikhs and heads of neighborhoods to be fired from their residence unless they register the underage kids.
213 د 24/4/2006 The under age kids were registered as follows:
Aesha Mohammed Saleh (1614)
Fatima Mohammed Saleh (1625)
Saleh Mohammed Saif (1629)
Maryam Ahmed Yahya Ahmed (1631)
Khadija Abdullah Al-Hakami (1630)
Monira Mohammed Saleh (1624)

215 و 24/4/2006 Registering from outside the area.
215 أ,ز,و 24/4/2006 Registering of the underage kids.
228 أ 24/4/2006 The Deputy Manager of Arhab Security has registered his name by sending his documents to the committee with a soldier, which is a clear violation of the text of the law No. (4)
298 أ 24/4/2006 Registering the underage girls.

Threat the committee & interfering in its works.

Constituency No. Center Date The Violation
6 ز 24/4/2006 The leader of the subcommittee was obligated by the General People’s Conference (GPC) to resign from the committee.
17 هـ 24/4/2006 The leader of subcommittee was threaten by the Al-Qodaimi school manager (Fatima Fakir) when she refused to register the underage girls.
17 ط 24/4/2006 Bad words were said to women, the registration applicants’ by (Khalik Al-Feel) who is a member of GPC party. He interferes in the committee works; besides, he threatens and gives orders to everyone.
32 هـ 24/4/2006 The unofficial attendance of Alhamzah school manager (Hudah Alhubaishi) in the women subcommittee to introduce the underage girls, and she takes names and records’ numbers from the committee.
35 ب 24/4/2006 Interfering of the head of neighborhood in the committee’s works.

Criminal Issues.

Constituency No. Center Date The Violation
216 ط 24/4/2006 The main committee has approved so-called (Sabriah Ali Abdullah Al-Matari) women sector’s leader in (GPC) instead of the leader of the subcommittee, who was approved by the Supreme Committee, Afrah Alkindi.
243 ي 24/4/2006 A soldier attacked the women committee, using his gun, because the committee refused to register his daughter which is underage, and beat one of the women voters.
110 أ 24/4/2006 Amat Al-Mujeeb Mohammed Al-Zubairi, who was practicing her role as an introducer of women, was attached and beaten by the colonel (Khalid Ahmed Al-Shaiba) the general manager of Yareem Province.

Administrative Violations :

Constituency No. Center Date The Violation
31 ج 24/4/2006 The subcommittee allowed to Abdu Al-Abii, general manager of 22 Mayoo school, to enlighten him the registration list and writing down whatever names and numbers he wants.
35 ب 24/4/2006 The main center was moved again to a new place.
35 د 24/4/2006 The leader of the committee is working alone.
41 هـ 24/4/2006 The brother of the committee member Fahed Ahmed Mohamed works instead of him.
84 و 24/4/2006 The leader of a subcommittee (Ali Mohammed Saeed Jayash) was replacing (Motee Mohammed Ahmed) by the (GPC) leadership.
95 ن 24/4/2006 Layla Al-Shrabee, a committee member was substituted by Na’elah Ali Hassan who is out of the Civil Service list.
95 ل 24/4/2006 The leader of the subcommittee (Nabil Ahmed Murshid) was moved to the center (ع) and he still has the card of the center (ل).

95 ح 24/4/2006 Durrah Mohammed Assana’ani was replaced with her sister Shaima’a Mohammed Assana’ani, and the two girls are out of the Civil Service list.
95 ح Haiyat Mohammed Abdu was substituted by Ebtissam Khalid Hisam, who is out of the Civil Service list.
95 هـ The member Huda Mohammed was substituted by Afrah Al-Bukhaiti, who is out of the Civil Service list.
95 ح The member Eman Al-Mi’alamah was substituted by Entissar Al-Anesi, who is out of the Civil Service list.
95 ح The member Fahed Abdu Kaeed was substituted by Abdul-Fattah Al-Hitar, who is out of the Civil Service list.
95 ن The member Fawsiah Falahi Mohammed was substituted by Mohammed Annegar, who is out of the Civil Service list.
95 أ The member of the committee, Ali Arredaee Is absent and the committee still works with two members till today. Also, the member Nahid Ali Bahran was substituted by Nadiah Al-Mulaiki, who is out of the Civil Service list.
109 د Although, the two villages (Humrrah and Annemmar) are within the center (ج), the main committee registered them in the center (د) by order from the supervisory committee.
122 ج The member, who was affirmed by the Supreme Committee, was substituted with Ali Nassir Ali.
123 ب،ز،ط Illegal substituting of participants by forged photos as follow :
No

The member

The alternative

1

Gallal Hassen

Khalid Ali Abdullah

2

Mohmmed Ali Nassir

Ahmed Gazie Mukbil

3

Mohammed Hamid

Sabrri Saleh Saeed

4

Zaied Mukbil Saeed

His brother

5

Baligh Jibran

Adel Ali Azzamki

167 ز The two committees work under the supervision of Hassen Abdullah Asheikh the member of (GPC) and the headman in the village. The two committees are in his home, and no one can be registered except by his permission.
194 ط Women applicants of registration were departing the committee, because of the (GPC) members’ entering.
192 هـ The committee works with only two members.
195 هـ The member Salwah Al-Gammal was substituted by Na’eemah Assarrari, who was also substituted by Sammah Al-Khabji in clear violation of the text of the law.
205 ل The committee moves from a village to another within the center.
207 ج The main committee has given its oral commands to the subcommittee to move the women committee between the villages and registering all women and the underage kids without making sure of registration procedures.
207 و The main place of the committee was changed into a village within the center.
213 ب An observer was not allowed to enter into the committee, although he has a permission.
215 ط The subcommittee was moved from its main place to another place.
216 ط The leader and members of the women committee were substituted by members of the (GPC) by order of the original committee.
221 ص The women committee has been moved to the home of the deputy of Sana’a Governor Abdul Ghanni Dawood, and worked till midnight.
228 ك The subcommittee has changed the name of the province of (Eial Suhaim) to (Eial Adbullah) alleging that the registration list did not contain (Eial Suhaim) and this may confuse citizens.

A report issued by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP). Issue No. (9).

Dealing with the observers :

Constituency No. Center Date The Violation
9 ط 27/4/2006 The local observer Intissar Attairi has been prevented from entering into the committee, for practicing her works as an observer, by the leader of the main committee Adel Alhababi.
11 أ 29/4/2006 A woman observer of Free Press was threaten and fired from the committee.

Election Fraud, Starting with Voter Registration

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 1:41 pm on Friday, May 5, 2006

Not to even mention whats going on with the army, we have from al-Sahwa:

30/4/2006 GPC forges voter records, NGOs cry foul

Sahwa net- Leaders of President Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC)
have recently reportedly indulged in widespread violations of the
constitution and election law through forging voter records and
assaulting
monitors , drawing wide condemnation from Non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) .The move, many described as “bullying act”, was apparently aimed at making the presidential polls slated for next December emerge in favor of the ruling party.
In Ibb province, officials associated with the GPC terrorized Thikra
Al-Falahi, an observer working for Maad organization for Justice and
democracy.
Al-Falahi said, in a complaint lodged to the SCER, that Fuad Dahan,
office director of the governorate secretary general, threatened to batter her
and imprison her husband should she fail to leave the registration center.
On Thursday, Jibla district security manager and chairman of the
security committee followed Dahan’s suit, as he summoned Falahi’s septuagenarian father to the committee premises, and asked him to send his daughter if he is to avoid imprisonment. Home The elderly man then unwillingly met the security official’s demand, and Falahi said that women registration committee members threatened to report
her to the Political Security Organization (PSO) if she didn’t quit.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Al-Shawush, Chairman of Maad, strongly deprecated
the mistreatment meted out to Falahi by the GPC officials, calling it
“blatant contravention of the electoral law”.
In a press statement to Al-Sahwa net, Shawush underlined the observers
were legally fulfilling the tasks assigned to them, as, he said, they were
issued identity cards by the SCER.
He called on the concerned authorities to take punitive measures
against the culprits before it was too late.
Elsewhere in Ibb, a GPC female leader reportedly assaulted and forced
Shafa Sa’eed, an independent monitor, out of the committee headquarters for
allegedly revealing the registration committee’s secrets, as other
ruling party officials coerced female registration workers at constituency 83
to register minor girls.
In Aden, several NGOs monitors said they were denied access to voter
registration data.
The SCER violations have recently gained momentum, especially as the
close of the registration process was rapidly drawing nearer.

JMP Statement on Electoral Competition

Filed under: Elections, JMP, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:51 pm on Friday, April 14, 2006

News Yemen:

The Yemeni voter is looking at the elections this time with a keener eye. He has arrived at a better standard of living and a freer life. He will not accept anything less than free and fair elections thus making this electoral experience a source of pride for all Yemenis.
It is no longer acceptable to clone previous electoral experiences in any of their forms (local, parliamentary, or presidential). Many of these experiences witnessed flagrant and open violation of laws and the constitution as well as a counterfeiting of the will of the people. Results were forged. This stood in the way of peaceful transfer of power. Instead of freedom there was only a semblance of plurality.
There must be found an electoral environment that is neutral, transparent, and fair. A political climate that grants opportunities for competition according to the constitution and law is needed. None of this will come to pass without the presence of an independent and neutral High Commission for Elections.
Based on that given, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) presented its vision for electoral reform as well as the necessary guarantees to effect free and fair elections now and in the future. It requires little more than a credible political will from all sides (specifically from the side of the ruling party). Some of these guarantees call for legal amendments (specifically one that calls for legislative and constitutional amendments in connection with parliamentary and shura council elections.

First: Electoral Management Reform
The previous electoral experiences left no room for doubt that electoral credibility is based primarily on the neutrality and independence of the electoral management. The High Commission for Elections is in the forefront and plays a central role in this by virtue of it being the highest authority according to clause 159 of the Yemeni constitution. This clause commissions the HCE with management, supervision, and oversight of all elections. This power comes preconditioned on the guarantees of independence and neutrality to ensure credibility. Bill 13 for the year 2001 confirmed that this commission would be independent both managerially and financially in order to perform all its tasks without pressure or coercion. The bill further stipulates that there will be no intervention by any party in the affairs of the HCE. Despite a long list of offences and infractions, the HCE enjoys a certain amount of confidence among the people and parties thanks to its results.

Current Infractions
1. HCE’s lack of authority to manage the elections and general referenda that are under its purview. Currently there are 5 ruling party members and only 2 opposition members. This is an infraction of the constitution and makes the ruling party a hegemon in the administration of the election process.
2. The HCE does not hold to the legal injunction concerning the appointment of its employees in the administrative department, either locally or generally. Paragraph C of Clause 24 of the electoral law number 13 for the year 2001 stipulates that the appointing mechanism must be based on conditions set by the committee. However, the HCE was keen to appoint members of the ruling party in an attempt to liquidate the opposition from administration. This in turn made any opposition or independent member a marginalized employee. Ruling party members took their positions a fact that led to semi-total control on the part of the ruling party in the technical and administrative unit of the HCE.
3. The HCE granted the ruling party to gerrymander the local electoral precincts according to political accounting that served their interests. Such action was in flagrant opposition to the law.
4. The HCE was not able to perform its duties to oversee the elections as well as the neutrality of the media and public monies. It did not take any steps concerning infractions or violations made and ignored all complaints.
5. The HCE appeared reckless in organizing the elections according to their legally-appointed dates. It feigned side disputes with the opposition at the expense of time and invalidated it instead of making early arrangements to set up elections in a proper atmosphere.
6. The HCE was heavily involved in counterfeiting results and continuously committed grave legal infractions. This was announced during the elections of 2003.
7. The HCE mismanaged elections in precinct 227 in the governorate of Remeh and encouraged an atmosphere of counterfeit and legal infraction. It appointed members of the electoral commissions single-handedly and deprived the parties of any oversight. This increased doubt among many concerning the neutrality and fairness of the elections and their management.
8. The HCE used the media in all its forms to attack the opposition parties and to distort their positions. It affected crises with them at time when it was supposed to be a neutral judge.
9. The HCE distributed pamphlets prematurely which was not in accordance to the law. It drafted instructions to push for more elbow room and counterfeiting of records and did nothing to fix the other infractions.
10. There was no transparency which was stipulated by the law that all its actions must be done in full view. Such violations include the following: A) the law stipulates that the parties are to obtain a copy of the voters’ records. It is the responsibility of the parties, the HCE, and the voter to watch over this and to correct any errors continuously to assure all information is correct. However, over the course of two years, the HCE refused to deal with the parties’ demands for this information. B) The law gives the right to any voter to review and discard any decision made by the HCE. However, the HCE has blacked out its decisions and does not announce them except when it is to late to oppose them. C) The HCE refuses to allow parties or organizations to look at any of the ballots despite their completion last August.
11. It has not developed the electoral experience by ignoring the initiatives of the parties and international organizations that began in 2004.
12. It has repeatedly interpreted the lie with arbitrariness. This has led to favoring of the ruling party. Any claims of neutrality have been eroded.

Proposed Fixes
1. Ratify a set legal instrument to re-form the HCE according to the following criteria: a) form it based on equality among all political organizations; b) appointments to the HCE are the exclusive purview of the parliament; c) present its yearly budget and its final accounts before the parliament; d) form an assistant administration composed of competent and qualified people who are neutral; e) subject the administration of the HCE to supervision to prevent one of its members from acting independently; f) allow for oversight and supervision; g) require all its members to present their personal finances before and after their service in the HCE; h) require the HCE to adhere to public opinion during all steps of its work.
2. Guarantee women’s participation in the High Commission as well as other committees (oversight, political, and administration).
3. Apply criminal punishments to members of the committee that infracts laws.
4. Remain aware of the truthfulness of electoral records by a) finding complete civil records and rely on them completely; b) set a clear mechanism that facilitates checking for duplicate names, etc.; c) review previous documents and models and remove any information that conflicts with the law such as canceling the requirement for place of work and negating the role of the head of the alley.
5. Intensify training of the committees to raise their skills and legal awareness concerning infractions and stipulations.
6. Form oversight committees according to the principle that no more than one representative from each party can be on a committee. This insures neutrality and balance.
7. Perform their constitutional duty by developing and modernizing the electoral process via evaluating former processes and treating their deficiencies as well as implementing proposals that had been ratified by international political organizations and civil society in 2004.

Second: Electoral System Reform (Read on …)

Presidential Candidate’s House Bombed

Filed under: Elections, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 7:46 pm on Thursday, April 6, 2006

News Yemen

The home of businessman Tawfiq Al-Khamari came under fire. A special source to NewsYemen stated that armed men attacked the residence around 8:30pm in the west of the capital. Mr. Al-Khamari called NewsYemen but did not place blame on anyone. He stated that, “the security forces came and we are awaiting the results of the investigation.”
Al-Khamari has announced his candidacy for president and is a well-known businessman. He recently announced that his company The Yemeni Company for Hotels and Investment is working with an international consultant specializing in commercial negotiations to set up a number of projects related to hotels. In a study, it was indicated that a number of projects concerning housing units and commercial centers would be undertaken at a cost of around $110M.
Yemeni businessmen have complained about similar incidents that they consider are anti-investment. They also expressed their concern that the government is unable to protec them.
Al-Khamari is the secretary general for the Hotel Union as well as the deputy director for the Yemeni Association of Businessmen and Investors. In a previous interview with NewsYemen he indicated that security breaches are the number one obstacle to tourism in Yemen. Earlier, the YABI condemned threats that target the stability and public safety. These threats defame the country and only lead to many economic losses.
Previously, he stated that, ”businessmen, investors, both foreign and Arab, who wish to invest in Yemen are frightened to do so. Their fear is not tied only to their investments and money, but their lives as well. This is of very grave concern and is damaging to the state and to the principles of religion.”
The parliament holds the Ministry of Interior, security divisions, intelligence units, and the military responsible for putting an end to these threats. The parliament also praised the president and several government institutions for taking the responsibility to fix this problem.

Islah Raises 72B YR

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 5:25 pm on Tuesday, March 21, 2006

from ADNKI:

Mosques around Yemen have collected more than 72 billion rials (more than 3 million euros) to finance the election campaign of the country’s main Islamic party, Al-Islah. The money comes from donations made over the last six years by Muslims attending Friday prayers in Yemen’s more than 50,000 mosques. According to the Arabic online daily Elaph, Al-Islah party will use it to finance its future election campaigns.

The governing General People’s Congress party and Al-Islah have been Yemen’s main political parties since a civil war in 1994.

Since its expulsion from government in 1997, Al-Islah has played the role of a moderate opposition force, but the party decided to support the country’s current president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 1999 elections. Saleh announced last year that he does not intend to run for another term as president.

The next presidential elections in Yemen are scheduled for September

It would be nice if there was a JMP presidential candidate for the election in September.

Electoral Districts to be Set Aside for Women: proposal

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 6:59 pm on Monday, March 20, 2006

Thats an interesting proposal, women only competition for certain constituencies:

from News Yemen:

The deputy secretary general of the GPC for political affairs demanded that certain jurisdictions be set aside for women in the upcoming local and parliamentary elections. He expressed his parties commitment to close certain precincts for competition between the women candidates according to the agreement by all political parties.
In a meeting held by the council for women’s incorporation in politics (GPC, Islah, YSP, and Nasserite parties) which is overseen by the Institute for National Democracy, Abdul Rahman renewed his party’s support for women and announced the decision of the general body to appropriate %15 of seats to women.
The leadership called for an open discussion for women’s support and signed an agreement to make it binding.
The women’s council has held meetings with the parties to discuss how to strengthen their presence in the coming elections.

“On the Dagger’s Edge”

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, Yemen-Democracy, Yemen-Economy, Yemen-Election, Yemen-Journalists — by Jane Novak at 12:46 pm on Sunday, March 5, 2006

Quite an interesting seven page article in the US News and World Report, lots of interesting quotes, covers the big topics: poverty, corruption, lack of oppostion leadership, journalists, the tribal areas, education, traditionalism, potential state failure, democratic reforms, counter terrorism efforts and the impending election. To follow is an assortment of random quotes from the article:

This time, the assault is an exercise, but Yemen’s elite Counterterrorism Unit has successfully carried out several high-risk operations against suspected terrorists and kidnappers. Portraits of six fallen soldiers, the unit’s “martyrs,” hang on the walls of their barracks. “They are without a doubt the bravest guys I have ever worked with,” says Ed, a U.S. Army trainer on his second tour in Yemen.

These days, though, Yemen is facing its own crisis, the result of deepening poverty and a government in denial about the depth of reforms needed to survive. In the past year, the United States and the World Bank have slashed their modest aid programs to Yemen, increasingly fed up with a bureaucracy that is one of the most corrupt in the world. “Yemen is teetering on the edge of failed statehood,” warns one U.S. official. “It will either become a Somalia or get serious about transforming.” For a nation awash in guns and crisscrossed by well-worn smuggling routes, the threat is grave.

(The 17) The group was captured after U.S. intelligence passed a tip to Yemeni security forces.

“This is a country that is really in the balance,” says Thomas Krajeski, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen. “There is a risk here for failure, and there is a chance of success. It is our job to give them all the help we can, but they have to make some hard decisions now.”

Increasingly, however, Yemenis fear that the strongman who has ruled for 28 years will be unable or unwilling to make the tough reforms needed. “The Americans are happy because they found someone who will fight terrorism,” says Mutawakil. “But my fear is that we’re establishing the foundation for terrorism in the country, just as they did in Iraq.” He is particularly concerned about what he calls Saleh’s “divide and conquer” style.

Amid all this, Yemen has somehow managed to remain one of the most democratic nations in the (admittedly autocratic) Middle East–and one of the very few with a relatively free press. The government tolerates a raft of opposition parties and independent newspapers. Yemenis, for the most part, feel free to criticize the government, and even Saleh, in public.

The democratic reforms all stop short of threatening Saleh’s rule

The final straw came when her staff recorded “appalling cheating” by government officials during a by-election for a parliament seat. “This past year, the scales dropped from our eyes,” she says. “We’re tired of promises. We’re tired of good intentions. < > It comes to a point when it’s not enough to say that you held the country together as it fell down the tubes.”

“In the past, we have been lenient when it comes to accountability,” says Qirbi, the foreign minister. “Now we are making the people who are responsible accountable for any poor performance. We have overcome a major obstacle, which is admitting that there are deficits.”

“We have maybe the worst educational quality in the world,” says Arhabi, the minister of planning. “I have myself seen students in sixth grade, who if you ask them to pronounce the alphabet, they aren’t able to finish it. Forget about reading and writing.”

Even worse, some corruption is officially sanctioned. As many as 60,000 people are receiving at least two government salaries, often doled out officially to buy their loyalty. “Many of the double dippers are tribal sheiks or military people,” says Yahya al-Mutawakel, the vice minister of planning.

Perhaps the brightest is the Social Fund for Development, an independent government agency that helps build schools, clinics, roads, and water wells funded mostly by foreign nations. With only 150 full-time employees, the fund managed some 1,000 projects last year with an $80 million budget. The fund–and Arhabi, its director–win nearly universal praise from foreign donors for their integrity and exhaustive accounting system. The secret: highly paid employees and the ability to fire staff at will.

Underlying any discussion of reform, however, is one uncomfortable factor–nobody can picture Yemen without Saleh in charge. Even his most implacable critics fret that there is no viable alternative today

“I expect more dangerous risks in Yemen–extremism and fanaticism,” he says. “But it’s not related to religion. It comes out of the failure to satisfy life’s needs.”

For many, the upcoming local and presidential elections will be a test. And the stakes are high. “What we are afraid of is that the Yemeni people will lose hope in elections as a means of change,” Sabri says, “because this is what the traditional forces want.”

Itrs really a good article.

Three Great Articles about the Political Process in Yemen

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, Yemen-Democracy, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 10:50 am on Sunday, February 26, 2006

This one in the Yemen Times on the election commission is perfect for me. It explains the laws and the issues clearly and precisely.

The issue of selecting SCER members remains mysterious since local public opinion does not know how to select candidates for the commission race. Since 1993 elections, only the three main parties have occupied SCER posts: the ruling party, Islah and the Yemeni Socialist Party, which was ruled out in 1997 and 1999 elections. The issue still is misleading since it says the SCER is independent and neutral, while it is in fact administratively and politically controlled by the ruling party.

This one in News Yemen explains very clearly what happened in that election for the presidium of the Paliarment:

1- President Saleh continues to impose the leadership agenda on GPC members regardless how the majority in the party have voted. The sudden change did not happen because Basaleh or Mahmood campaigned over night, it happened because the presidency wanted it to change.
2- If real democratic procedures become the norm within the GPC, its members are capable of bringing good people to the frontline. GPC has some responsible and clean people.
3- 44 MPs of the ruling party who had voted for Sakher in the party exercise changed their position and voted for the other two. It makes me wonder, why have they changed and can we trust them again?
4- What happened was a disgrace and a blow to the government claims about reforms and change. Government is not serious about reform and the need to change; in spite of its media covering pages and pages of papers with big headlines “Change is the title of the Era” in Al-Thawra – Feb 12th, 2006. “Change” 26 September same day and so on… if the government really believes in the value change brings, it would not have let a golden opportunity (the parliamentary presidium) slip out of its hand.
5- To reform, you need to identify qualified, moderate and reform minded individuals within the system and outside it and promote them to do the restoration job. What happens in Yemen is the contradictory to this simple equation. The leadership finds qualified and reform minded people, but instead of promoting them it crushes them and ensures they are in no place to impact their “evil, culturally insensitive western reforms” on the process….

PS. Islah and YSP are not better off. The two main oppositions did not even run anyone and they remained a by watcher (as usual) and later will continue to balm the party with the majority for all our misfortune. They would have looked better and will have a good argument to justify the future challenges if they had run for the deputies’ seats and lost. It is not by watching you would convince people you are doing something.

This is another one from the Yemen Times on the same subject: However, dealing with them as employees makes them only a herd without enthusiasm for the ruler, his party and regime. What kind of democracy or peaceful transfer of power are we talking about if the President never accepts any decision from his party bloc? Good point.

al-Ahmar, appointed speaker of Parliament

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Democracy, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 7:56 am on Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Maybe its a terminology thing, but actually its not an election if there’s only one candidate, even if there is some voting involved. It’s an appointment.

Also if al-Ahmar is supporting Saleh for president, then al-Ahmar is in the wrong party. The function of an opposition party is to oppose.

YT:
Under-the-table divisions over the election method have leaked out. Al-Ahmar insisted he would not run in the election ( for speaker of the Paliament) unless he was the only nominee, as he preferred to be chosen by Parliament uncontested. GPC sources said regulations stipulate the nominee’s presence. The GPC parliamentary bloc is expected to meet by the end of this week to inform its members of the decision to re-elect Al-Ahmar. However, the posts of deputies and committee heads were not determined.

Indications point to the split over parliamentary posts as an extension of conflicts between influential GPC members who experienced severe strife over the General Secretary’s post at their seventh conference last month in Aden. Prominent personalities lost their Central Committee positions, including Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi and Al-Ahmar’s son, Hussein. Hussein’s loss was considered a message to Al-Ahmar, whose differences with the president have become public in the past few months.

The GPC announcement to nominate Al-Ahmar followed a meeting of the two men in Aden during the Eid holiday. After this meeting, Al-Ahmar declared his support of President Saleh’s candidacy in September’s elections.

Despite the fact that Al-Ahmar heads the Islah party, he has been an important ally of the president since coming to power in North Yemen in 1978. Despite soured relations in the past six years over U.S. relations, the War on Terror and differing stances on Islah after it became an opposition party, the two men remain important allies.

Voter Fraud in Yemen

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Democracy, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 10:32 am on Thursday, January 19, 2006

This is the same GPC packed Commission that the Islah party recently brought a lawsuit against for kicking off opposition party representatives. The court refused to hear the case. And the commission is now claiming a lack of responsibility for underage voting and blaming the parties. YT/NY:

The Yemeni Supreme Commission for Elections and Referenda admitted yesterday that underage voters, including boys as young as seven years old, had been registered and voted in the 2003 parliamentary elections.

The commission however refused to shoulder responsibility for this action and said all parties are partners in the process and should share the blame.

The head of the foreign sectors’ departments of SCER Alawi Al-Mash-hoor said political parties were the ones that encouraged the registration of underage voters. “There were many reports filed to us about violations committed by political parties. It is their process and hence it is not our right to omit any part of the law to prevent them from running the show.” he said….Civil society organizations are still unsure whether proper mechanisms are being established to prevent future fraud and underage voting in next elections, particularly in remote areas that are very difficult to monitor by local or international observers.

The Candidate Saleh

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 9:14 pm on Wednesday, January 11, 2006

This is an interesting and somewhat depressing assessment. Its rather long so the whole thing is here, to follow is just an excerpt that caught my eye:

According to one western diplomat based in Yemen, Western nations – including the US – believe he (Saleh) continues to be the best candidate for the presidency, due to his long experience and ability to appeal to Yemen’s multifarious ethnic and social groups.

Yes long experience (27 years) for sure. He appeals to the various groups by targeting some and rewarding others.

The election is in eight months and there is no opposition candidate inside Yemen. I understand full well the GPC packed parliament has to approve the opposition candidate, the Election Commission is a tool that hinders representation, the court rejected the Islah lawsuit to make the election commission more fair, the GPC controls the money, the media and the military, and the political system is devolving into a one party state, but still, no candidate?

Yet Another Link Dump

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, Yemen-Election, Yemen-Journalists, Yemen-Statistics — by Jane Novak at 2:55 pm on Monday, December 26, 2005

Some quotes from the Yemeni papers with links

Buying good media coverage, not an unusual occurance:

As for chairman of the board of directors of the Watani Bank Dr Ahmed Al-Hamdani, and according to media sources, has allocated around YR one million for journalists who would stand by him against dealing with the attack on him, saying it was targeted against him from among the other banks operating in the country.

Why the Houthis?

Politicians differed in their explanations of the reasons that led the authorities to uproot the activities of Al-Houthi followers. Some say that the reasons are political; others describe them as ethnical while the third group relates the authorities’ attempt to exterminate Al-Houthi as a response to U.S. and Israeli demands. Majority of politicians, however, believe that Saudis, through their strong influence in Yemen, have a hand in plans for eliminating the Shiite movement of Al-Houthi, which according to their belief, limits the expansion of the Wahabi movement in Yemeni territory.

Why the kidnapping?

The kidnappers told the mediators that ‘they resorted to kidnapping because they failed to convince the security authorities to release their relatives and refer them to judiciary”….Security authorities claim the three detainees have been accused of fighting the US-led coalition in the Iraqi territories. They also accuse them of having connection with one of the organizations facilitating the transportation of Yemeni fighters to Iraq.

Agriculture:, a main stay of the economy.

They said they aimed at achieving a high rate of productivity this season but insecticides spread in their farms destroyed the crops. A vast area was destroyed because of these bad insecticides making the 2005 product less than the planed rate by far….Consequent to their deteriorating conditions, many farmers were compelled to abandon their farms.

Women agricultrual workers:

The study, published by the Labor Market Information System (LMIS) program, added that the majority of working women are concentrated in the agricultural sector as unpaid family workers. It is estimated that approximately 61.9% of women workers in Yemen are unpaid.

Business:

The report pointed out that Yemen had captured the highest figure in the cost of building a legal entity for businesses. While in Kuwait it is 24% of the average income of the individual, it reaches at 269.2% of the average of income of the individual in Yemen.

Criminal enterprises: of the powerful negatively impact society.

Considering the strategic location of Yemen, drugs are usually shipped from Southeast Asia through the Gulf of Aden and other coasts around the country. From there, it is shipped to numerous gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and other countries in the region. Not surprisingly, many of these illegal drugs are left behind and used in Yemen. New markets for these drugs have been created in places like Aden, Hodieda, and other cities across the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf shores.

Traffic police:

Traffic police only get paid the equivalent of $5 for a day’s work, which is the reason for this widespread problem….A traffic police officer who preferred to remain anonymous said, “People don’t understand that we are living through this dark age as well. With salaries like the equivalent of $150 monthly, we can’t even guarantee ourselves a future.” It is hard to imagine who is right when you hear the story from both sides. Citizens complain of traffic police oppression, while traffic police complain of government oppression.

Yet Another Journalist Targeted:

“They called me an al-Houthi associate and accused me of acting against the regime and the state, which is the same accusation used by security officials in the area against any citizen rejecting their brutal and illegal actions,” he said. He added, “other calls were made by those officials to my relatives asking about my home in Sanaa and where I go.”

He said he fears retaliation by the police, who could attack his family living in the Al-Shahil district because of what he has written in the report.

The cultural heritage:

I think the governmental sector failed in protecting antiquities. It is very difficult to convince the authorities with the importance of antiquities and to make them realize what antiquities are….Confronted with a question about the security of archeological sites many of which are believed to have been left to looters and robbers, Prof. Yosuf replied that this is the duty of the locals themselves and the local government.

GCC:

Other political analysts described the summit results as below expectations, some going so far as to say that even the pro-Yemen GCC attitudes were below what the people of the Gulf states aspire to. Other analysts believe that any steps taken by the GCC countries are useful to Yemen and should be welcomed. Nasserite leader Mohammed Al-Sabri believed Yemen required further reforms in all sectors to avoid lagging behind the Gulf states.

Can the bloggers sign?

Filed under: Yemen, Yemen-Democracy, Yemen-Election — by Jane Novak at 8:27 am on Wednesday, December 21, 2005

the petition for Saleh to honor his pledge to step down, in response to GPC announcement of a petition drive for him to run again.

The Arab News in Saudi Arabia titles the article: Pro-Democracy Activists Call on Saleh to Step Down. The article notes: In 1999, he was elected for a seven-year tenure in country’s first universal suffrage presidential vote with a 96 percent margin. His term ends next year, but the constitution allows him one more term in office.

GPC Will Nominate Saleh for 2006 Elections

Filed under: Elections, General, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:26 pm on Thursday, July 21, 2005

my my, that didnt take long…..

Saleh says he wont run, like he said three times before he ran, so the announcement may be a ploy. His ruling party seems rather determined to keep him in office (and themselves in power.)

20/7/2005 Hadi says president Saleh still PGC candidate for upcoming presidential polls

Al-Sahwa net- The Yemeni vice president Abdraboo Mansor Hadi on Monday affirmed that the PGC was still committed to the nomination of president Saleh in the upcoming presidential elections slated for September, 2006. Speaking at an inauguration ceremony of the summer educational centers organized by the Ministry of Endowments, Hadi said “ the PGC would announce the candidature of president Saleh in the forthcoming presidential elections during its sixth conference scheduled to be held next November”.

Also this very good bit of advice: Mohammed Qahtan, chairman of Islah political department,in press statement to Al-Sahwa net, urged the opposition parties to consider the president’s decision and adopt a unified national vision in this regard. (Actually my new favorite book, Building Democracy in Yemen, gives the same advice to the opposition as well as the womens’ movement, 43% of the registered electorate is women.)

Nadia: Who is the future hero?…Who will calm the burning hearts in the streets.

Upcoming Yemeni Elections

Filed under: Elections, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:03 pm on Monday, May 23, 2005

This is President Saleh’s website, where only one person bothered to post anything to the forum in two years. If you don’t have the patience to wait 15 minutes for it to load, this is the intro to the webpage:

In 1978, no one wanted to be President of the Arab Republic of Yemen. International diplomats bet he won’t last a week.
HE PROVED THEM WRONG.

big time. Since the unification of North and South Yemen in 1990, there was a presidental election in 1998. Saleh won a five year term with 96% of the vote. The term was extended to seven years. 2006 is the next election.

NM: “The country is a presidential republic where despite democratic structures there is no fair chance for the opposition.”

19/5/2005 Opposition wants Saleh out of presidential race
Al-Sahwa net- The opposition parties would contest the Yemeni presidential elections slated for next year only if President Salah is out of the presidential race, said Mohammed Qhatan, the Islah political department chairman.

Addressing a political seminar, titled “Yemen after 15 years of democracy” Al-Jazeerah center for human rights studies held Wednesday in memory of the 15th anniversary of Yemeni re-unification, Qahatan said, “Opposition parties would strongly participate in the forthcoming presidential elections in case the PGC adopted sound democratic approach. Indeed, it’s feasible to nominate a person, who assumed power for 30 years, for the presidency then ask the opposition parties to get involved in the electoral process”. (Read on …)

 

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