26_September [Archives:2008/1220/Press Review]

December 29 2008

Thursday, Dec.25, 2008
Top Stories

– Industry Conference recommends setting up development strategy to improve national industry

– Defense Minister: The military institution is the strongest tool to defend Yemen's sovereignty, security and stability

– International organizations praise efforts expended by SCER ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections

Country Director of International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) in Sana'a Peter Williams praised efforts expended by the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum as part of its preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for April 27, 2009, the website reported. It added that the IFES Director stressed the necessity of political parties and organizations supporting the SCER to correct voter registers and delete any discrepancies.

In a statement to the 26September.net, Williams said that current preparations and arrangements made by the SCER makes one happy, most notably as the commission cares about clearing the voter registers of repeated names, underage voters and the dead, as well as report such cases to the concerned authorities.

The international official also emphasized the necessity of questioning staff that registered underage voters, investigate them and take the necessary procedures against them according to the law, adding that similar procedures must be taken against those voters, who registered their names in more than an electoral domicile.

Williams added, “It is very important for Yemeni people to have trust in the current voter register while political parties and all those concerned with the electoral process should encourage the SCER to correct any discrepancies contained in the register in order to ensure that the voter register includes no violations.”

Regarding charges directed to the SCER that it manipulates the voter register, the IFES Director said, “We often hear such charges that remain merely words without evidence. If the parties filing such charges against the SCER have adequate evidence to charge the SCER with manipulating the voter registers, they must show their evidence on the table, as well as present it to the responsible authorities to question the SCER.

With regard to the call to postpone the elections, Williams said such an option may hurt Yemen's democracy and contradict the most important democratic principles, as elections should be conducted regularly according to a specific timeframe.

“If the elections are postponed for one time, there will be no guarantees to ensure that the elections will not be postponed for another time,” Williams went on to say.

Williams indicated the presence of another two scenarios, one of which is represented by Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) declaration to boycott the elections in public, but participate in them in an informal way. He added that such an option may hurt the democratic voters by depriving them of selecting their representatives to Parliament, adding that political parties may get weaker due to potential lack of representation in Parliament, and consequently these parties will be deprived of government funding, according to the law.

The other scenario, according to Williams, is represented by parties' agreement to carry out political reforms and conduct competitive elections to involve all the parties concerned.

According to Williams, political parties calling for amending the election system must take into account that any proposed amendments to the system are impossible to undertaken for the time being, particularly as those related with replacing the First Past-the-Post system to the proportional list.

He concluded that all the international laws don't allow any electoral amendments to be conducted six months ahead of the elections, pointing out that compromise is the best option for Yemen's parties to solve the electoral issue.