Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Yemen new president elected, what next?

By Nasser Arrabyee/ 21/02/2012

The overwhelming majority of Yemenis voted for a new president  on Tuesday February 21st, 2012  ending the 33-year long reign of the President Ali Abdullah Saleh,71.

The new President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, was the sole candidate of consensus in  exceptional elections viewed  by the  majority of Yemenis and international and regional community  as the only way  to rescue Yemen from a civil war.

Mr Hadi, 67, was highly supported by the international community when the two conflicting  factions within Saleh's regime failed to end the one-year political crisis to the interest of  one side. 

Hadi is respected by almost all groups including those who  defected from Saleh's regime and joined the youth revolution but failed to have what they called " revolutionary legitimacy" to be rulers.

Much of the respect given to Hadi from all Yemeni is because he is  from the south which complains from being marginalized by the northerners.

 Hadi served as vice president since after the 1994 civil war which erupted only four years after south and north united.

The last presidential elections was in 2006 when the  former president Saleh was elected in an  election described by the international community as " reasonably free and competitive" . 

After about one year of anti-Saleh protests, Saleh now has gone, but his party and his supporters remain.

 His party has 50 per cent of the ministries of the national unity government and his supporters were at least representing 50 per cent of the election turn out all our the country on this week's elections.

  Saleh's party, the General People Congress(GPC), has now three operating Satellite channels, Yemen Today, Al Akeek, and Azal. 

The vice chairman of the supreme committee of the elections Khamis Al Daini said the turn out " surprised every one".  

Only 9 constituencies out of 301, which did not hold elections because of violent acts by those who refused the elections in the south because they demand independence. 

 The overall turn out was estimated at more than 70 per cent.

The Yemeni political leaders and international diplomats in Yemen  described the elections as historic and as the only way to  rescue the conflict-torn country from a  civil war.

" The February 21st, is a historic day, and it  protected   Yemen from a civil war," said the UN envoy, Jamal Bin Omar, while visiting some of the polling  stations in Sanaa on Tuesday.

"After elections,Yemenis will have a new social contract," added Bin Omar who orchestrated the Saudi-led and US-backed deal that led to such a  political solution of the Yemeni crisis.

One day before elections, the former president Saleh called his supporters to vote for Hadi.

" Today, I would say good bye to the power, which should always be responsibility not a privilege," said Saleh from New York where he finished further medical treatments for burns and injuries he sustained in an assassination attempt last June.

 Saleh declared he would  attend the installation ceremony of Hadi which is expected to be held late this week or early next week.

" Saleh will definitely return and attend the installation ceremony," Saleh's secretary, Ahmed Al Sufi told the Weekly.

Al Sufi expected the installation ceremony to be held on Thursday February 23.   

Saleh will return as a good and normal citizen as he always says,

Yemenis final  goal not achieved yet:

The establishment of a civil state which protects rights and liberties of every one is the final goal, and changing Saleh with Hadi is the not the final goal of Yemenis.

The protesters in the streets still threaten  to continue sitting in their tents until this final goal is achieved.

The 25-year  old Mohammed Alwan, said Tuesday he is ready to stay in his tent  all the two-year transitional period of Hadi or even more than that if the civil state is not established.

" Today I voted for Hadi, but I would keep staying in the tent until all our goals are achieved," said Mohammed shortly after he voted in a poll station inside the Sanaa university where the protests square is located.

Two big challenges

Before establishing the civil state which every one is dreaming, Yemenis with their new President Hadi need to  open a comprehensive national dialogue to discuss and solve all big issues of those who refused the elections such as the issue of Al Houthi in northern province of Saada, and the issue of  the south.

The second big thing to be done during the transitional period is the writing of a new constitution on which the would-be  civil state will be based. France and Germany are helping Yemenis to write the new constitution.

In February 2014, a competitive presidential election is supposed to be held according to the new constitution. The elected president would set a date for parliamentary elections.


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