By Nasser Arrabyee/01/01/2010
The Yemeni Parliament said Saturday that the US State Department “touched its sovereignty and interfered in its internal affairs” when it urged Yemeni parties to delay vote on constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling party.
“The Americans know well that the Yemeni Parliament is governed by constitutional and legal texts and the will of the people does need external desires to be approved, and the US call for delay of the amendments does not amount to diplomatic dealings and lacks wisdom,” said an official statement issued by the Parliament and published by state-run media.
Earlier in the day, the US acting State Department Spokesman Mark C. Toner "urgently" called on all parties to delay parliamentary action and to return to the negotiating table to reach an agreement that will be welcomed by the Yemeni people as well as Yemen's friends.
On Saturday, the majority of the ruling party MPs agreed in principle to vote on constitutional amendments including an article which will reduce the presidential term to five years instead of seven and allow the president to nominate himself at the end of every term. The current constitution allows only two presidential terms.
All the opposition MPs, about 50 out of 301, protested against the amendments saying such amendments would enhance the tyranny and individual rule.
The chairman of parliamentary block and assistant secretary general of the ruling party, Sultan Al Barakani said the opposition wants “a peaceful transfer of power through deals and not through polls”.
“ Over the last 20 months, the opposition has been betting on the collapse of the regime through their support for outlaws and rebels,” said Al Barakani who demanded that the amendments should be approved and voted on as soon as possible.
However, there were many MPs from the ruling party who said the opposition must participate in the amendments. And they expected an agreement with them during the one-month recess of the House which starts tomorrow Sunday, January 2, 2011.
In today’s session, the speaker of the House Yahya Al Rae asked the independent MP Nasser Arman, who attended the session with another independent MP (Ali Abdu Rabu Al Qadi), to go to the protesting MPs at the gate of the House and convince them to come in and say whatever they like.