By Nasser Arrabyee/03/01/2011
The Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Monday the opposition would commit suicide if they decided to boycott the parliamentary elections next April especially the Islamist party, Islah.
President Saleh called the opposition to use reason and logic and participate in the elections, which, he said, will be held on time in presence of international observers.
“I would like to assure all the Yemeni people that the elections will be held on time, and everything will be all right, and we’ll invite international observers, and whoever wants to participate that’s fine, whoever wants to boycott that’s his right and that would be like committing suicide,” Saleh addressed a mass rally in Hudhrmout university in Mukalla, far east of the country.
President Saleh focused on the Islamist party, Islah, as the second largest party in the country after the ruling party whose chairman is also Saleh. For the Socialist party, Saleh said it ended in the 1986 civil war between two socialist factions before south and north united in 1990. Islah has about 46 seats in the current House of Representatives and Socialist has seven, with two of them leading the separatist movement in the south and not attending the session any more since 2007.
“We repeatedly call our brothers in the JMPs (opposition coalition) specially our brothers in the Yemeni congregation for Reform (Islah) the second largest after GPC (Saleh’s party),”Saleh said.
“For some parties like the Nasserites they have two or three seats, they do not form a problem, for the Socialist, it ended in January 13th, 1986, and in the war of 1994, most of its leaders joined the PGC and some of them joined Islah and they are now leading an extremist current in Islah.”
President Saleh’s attack on the opposition coalition came after they said they said they would return to dialogue if his party cancelled all unilateral previous steps.
“We will not accept any amendments or dialogue outside the institutions of the State, we will not accept dialogue that will nullify the official institutions,” Saleh said.
“If you have a program to solve the problems of economy and unemployment, you should submit it, and if you have a project to change the government and take power, you should come to polls and do that.”
Saleh said the opposition was in power with him but they achieved nothing, in reference to the Islamists and the Socialists who made a coalition with him after unity in 1990. The rule was divided the Socialist party and Saleh’s party immediately after unity from 1990 to 1993. The Saleh’s party and Islah party and Socialist made a ruling coalition almost one year, from 1993 to 1994. The Islamists alone ruled with Saleh’s party for almost three years after the civil war of 1994.
“ Do not you have a program other than taking the power, we tried you, most of you were in power and you ruled collectively and individually but no success was achieved,” Saleh said.
On Sunday, the opposition coalition said they would return to dialogue if the ruling party cancelled all the steps it had taken unilaterally.
The steps taken by the ruling party so far include the vote on the amended electoral law, formation of the supreme commission of elections of nine judges, and the initial approval on constitutional amendments.
“We would return to dialogue, to the point where we ended, if the ruling party cancelled the unilateral steps,” said Mohammed Abdul Malik Al Mutawakil, chairman of the supreme council of the opposition coalition.
Al Mutawakil was commenting on a letter addressed to opposition coalition from a presidential committee related to resuming the dialogue between the ruling party and opposition.
Earlier last week, the President Ali Abdullah Saleh assigned the chairman of his advisory council Shura, Abdul Azeez Abdul Ghani, and four other official from his party to contact the opposition for resuming the dialogue. The two parties failed over and over again to reach an agreement on political and electoral reforms since February 2009 when they declared two-year delay for the parliamentary elections to do those reforms.