1st Direct Presidential Election Votes and Results Official and Public’s Point of View [Archives:1999/39/Law & Diplomacy]

September 27 1999

Last Thursday, depending on official sources, more than 3.5 million Yemeni people, that is around 66%, went to the voting polls to vote for one of the two candidates for Presidency in the first direct Presidential elections witnessed by Yemen. Even though there are speculations 
of the actual number of voters, as some sources say that the voting percentage did not exceed 40%. All sources have agreed that the President’s percentage of 96.3%, was indeed correct. The number of voting polls in all the governorates was 17,184, with 6,135 of them allocated for the female voters and the remaining ones for the male voters. According to the Supreme Committee for Elections, the number of people participating in observing the election process was 52,712 in all the electoral centers. The same source pointed out that the election process was guarded by more than 52,000 Sergeants and soldiers. 
In the press conference he held last Wednesday, Mr. Abdullah Barakat, Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Election, said that the observers came from Palestine, India, Finland, Korea, Czech, Djibouti, the International Organization for the American Electoral Systems, the United Nations Program for Development besides a number of local observers. 
The Presidential Elections are considered to be a new step towards enhancing democracy in Yemen. It was amazing to see the people choosing their own president in a direct way. Despite the few mistakes occurred, nobody can ignore the positive sides of such an event. Will the elected President be able to meet the demands of the people who hang all their hops on him? The Yemen Times paid a lot of visits to many electoral centers in Sana’a Thursday morning and talked with some of the people who came in that early morning filled with ambitions for a better tomorrow. 
Bushra Mohammed Ali 
people started to arrive at the electoral centers from 8 O’clock in the morning and we witnessed a good number of women, too. We felt that all the people responded positively towards the democratic experience they lived for the first time in the history of Yemen. I look at this event as an important step towards enhancing the development process in Yemen. 
Aamal Mohammed Ateeq, Head of the Electoral Committee in Center “C”There was a good number of women participating in the voting process, especially in the afternoon because most of them worked in their houses in the morning. The number of attendants, of course vary according to the location of the electoral centers. In other words, centers located in crowded areas witnessed a lot of people from both sexes. In fact, we are very optimistic about this event and we hope that the elected President will not dash the hope of the people who elected him and do his best to combat corruption. 
Taha Ahmad Al-Jormouzi, Head of electoral district no.14, Sana’a 
As you see that the people had started coming from 7 O’clock in the early morning before we started. This, in fact, reflects the people’s enthusiasm about this historical event which is considered one of the main moves towards enhancing the democratic activities and principles our country is based upon. We, as electoral committees, do our best to provide the voters with the possible means of safety and secrecy to choose whom they see suitable to run the country. We hope that combating corruption will be at the top of the elected President’s agenda. 
Abdul Rahman Abdulla, voter 
I arrived here at 8 O’clock and in spite of the big numbers of people arriving, I can see order prevailing everywhere. We do not feel that we are observed, on the contrary, everybody here knows who he is going to vote for. Many people will vote for Ali Abdulla Saleh, whom they look at as their last chance to combat corruption. Anyway, giving the people a chance to choose their president is a good sign for a better future and I do expect the coming Presidential Election in 2004 to be more competitive than this. 
Khalid Al-Roainy 
I am very enthusiastic about this election and I consider it a good and a successful experience for a poor country like Yemen. Choosing the democratic course will enhance the development process desired by all. The people view these elections as a new hope to improve their living standards. Both of the candidates have presented their programs to the people, we hope that at least 80% of what they promised of in their programs will be implemented. 
Nasr Masary, local observer 
I arrived here at 8 O’clock in the morning and I found a lot of people who kept coming till the afternoon. In fact, I have found it very easy to do my work as an observer of the electing process, as well as counting the votes. I can say that Yemen, by these elections, is moving in the right path of development and progress. 
Faiza Ahmad Al-Doais, District no.2, Committee no. 12 
Though we started just two hours ago, there are about 85 women out of 324 women enrolled in our lists. The others will soon come after finishing the housework. People have become aware of the importance of such democratic practices which enable them to choose the leader they think is suitable and able to combat corruption. 
Lamsah Mohammed Abdul Galeel, District no.2, Committee no.11 
Their is a crowed of women which makes some problem for us because most of them do not know the alphabet and their districts, so we have to direct them to the electoral districts they are enrolled in. This is, of course, a waste of time and it causes a lot of troubles as you can see. Anyhow, there is a lot of women who keep coming in big numbers which, in fact, reflects the success of the role the media has played in arising the women awareness about their constitutional rights. We ground our hopes of leading the country towards a better tomorrow on the coming President. 
Ivana Zuntova, Czech Republic,Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Section of Mideast. 
I am Ivana Zuntova from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and I came as an observer because our relationship with the Republic of Yemen has been very intensive, especially during the latest months and I think it is very important to support every step which your friendly country is doing so I was delegated to come to observe this. This was not for checking your situation but more like an expression of our good-well and good support of your country. This very important for me to stress on. I can see that you have done very much already because you made elections in 1993 and 1997. It was shown that the people were interested in this process and the number of participants is increasing this time which is important as I think. I must say that I was quite surprised at the enthusiasm of the people for the election and when I saw the voters waiting patiently and trying to do their duty. I was even impressed by the experience of the committees because I saw that they were doing their work very carefully and I saw also some mistakes like, for example, the people forget to bend he paper and it might be visible but the committee was not willing to see them of course. The people who came to the elections sometimes made some mistakes but they were not serious ones. For example, I saw that some people were signing in front of the committee but they were directed to go to the cabins. I think the mistake is possible. You know this is something normal and it can happen anywhere. 
Next week, we will bring the opposition’s view.