Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Yemeni parties in disagreement over next elections

Ruling party determined to go to elections even alone, and opposition threatens to boycott and take to streets.
By Nasser Arrabyee/14/12/2010

The Yemen ruling party said Tuesday it would go to elections next April after the opposition said they would boycott and take to streets demanding political reforms first.

In a statement read in a press conference held Tuesday by the ruling party and small parties allied with it, the party played down the opposition call for taking to streets saying its only for “deceiving and misleading” the people.

The statement accused the opposition parties of making crises by encouraging Al Houthi rebels in the north, and separatists in the south, and Al Qaeda terrorists in the whole country.

“They want the understandings and to replace the constitution and laws, and the dialogue committees to replace the institutions and agencies of the State,” Sadeq Ameen Abu Ras, assistant secretary general of the ruling party and chairman of partisan coalition which includes the ruling party and about 10 small parties dissented from opposition parties with none of them represented in the Parliament, told reporters in the press conference. Abu Ras referred to the previous accords and committees between the ruling party and opposition for the failed dialogue.

“They wanted 200-member committee to replace the parliament, the 30-member committee to replace the government, and four-member committee plus President, to be a presidential council,” said Abu Ras. He referred to the failed national dialogue committee, made up of 100 members from the ruling party, and 100 from the opposition, and its minor committee, made up of 15 members from each side also.

And the failed five-member committee was the one that was supposed to discuss the constitutional amendments and it included the four opposition parties represented in the parliament plus the President who is the chairman of the ruling party.

The ruling party’s majority in House of Representatives voted Tuesday for 15 Judges from different provinces. The President Ali Abdullah Saleh will appoint seven of them to be members of the high commission which will run the country’s elections.

Amid tightened and exceptional security measures, the minority of the opposition MPs, (about 50 MPs from all parties and some independents) implemented a sit-in at the gate of the Parliament in protest over the steps. The ruling party and opposition parties failed to implement any step of the many agreements they made since 2006.

Earlier on Monday, the opposition parties threatened to take to the streets if the ruling party goes to elections alone next April.

The coalition of the parties called for “action of anger” that never stops until the ruling party recanted its unilateral steps.

This comes after the majority of the ruling voted earlier this week on amendments of the current elections law to form an election commission of judges rather than of representatives from all parties in the parliament .

"The vote is violation of the constitution and laws not to mention the fact that it is an overthrow on the February 2009 agreement."

The opposition and ruling party agreed on February 2009 to delay the elections for two years until April 2011 foe making political reforms during that period. No reforms at all have been done so far while the two years are almost over.

The ruling party says elections must take place on time otherwise the country will be in constitution vacuum. The opposition parties which includes Islamists Socialists and Nasserites say the ruling party wants elections that keep it in power.

" We call for an action of anger that never quietens down until we restore the rights to change, social justice and equal citizenship," said the coalition of the opposition parties in a statement read in a press conference held Monday by top leaders of the parties.

The Secretary general of the Socialist party, Yasin Saeed Noman, said unilateral step towards election is a game played by the extremists of the ruling party.

Mohamade Basundaw, chairman of the opposition national dialogue committee, said going to election without the opposition will only drag the country to a swamp of new crisis.
The ruling party official seem to be determined to go to elections without the coalition of the opposition parties which included the largest three opposition parties.

Earlier, the assistant secretary general of the ruling party, Sultan Al Barakani, played down the call for taking to streets by saying “If they have people to take to streets, they would have taken to streets after the 2006 presidential elections,” when their candidate who competed with the ruling party candidate, won only 20 % of the votes .

Yasser Al Awadhi, who is also a high profile member of the ruling party, said his party is determined to go to elections, but he also said that the door will keep open for the opposition.

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