50% of Yemeni people’s decisions are manipulated by political parties [Archives:2007/1082/Front Page]

September 3 2007

Almigdad Dahesh Mojali
SANA'A, Sept 1 ) Five essential factors affect decision-making in Yemen: the security and intelligence reports themselves-most importantly, partisan interest, foreign interests, pressures exercised by the closer, and lastly pressure exercised on elections.

This was concluded from the Yemen Polling Center (YPC) seminar on decision making process in Yemen which was concluded from a poll conducted with society's elite.

The results of the poll revealed that decision-makers in Yemen -48.2 percent of the sample- are heavily influenced by their partisanship at the expense of the public interest. Secondly, according to the sample was the tribes' ability to influence decision-makers, based on the responses of 31.4 percent of the sample. Furthermore, 29.7 percent stated that decision-makers in Yemen give partisanship precedence over the public interest.

Representing the Yemeni elite-79% of the study sample- hold the view that engaging people in decision-making is important and subsequently 16 percent of them believe that it is important in some but not all decisions. Only 4.7 percent of them said that people's engagement in the decision-making process is not important.

In fact, those believing that decision-makers are influenced by regionalism, partisanship and tribalism at the expense of the public interest constitute only 18.3,12.7,18.1 percent respectively. However, respondents holding the view that decision-makers are influenced by sectarianism account for an extraordinary 54.6 percent of the total sample.

Furthermore, scientific research and studies have no influence on decision-making in Yemen, according to 61.9 percent of the Yemeni elite. This is followed on the back of reports released by civil community organizations and results of general censuses in terms of the lack of influence in light of the responses of 43 percent of the sample.

The poll clarifies that the social participation's instruments, such as elections, have considerable influence on the decision-maker in Yemen. However, such an option was selected by only 47 percent of the respondents.

In addition to this, more than 50 percent of the respondents said that decision-makers don't care about reports released by civil community organizations, in spite of the fact that 42 percent of the sample provided that decision-makers occasionally show interest in these reports civil community organizations.

It was further revealed that 19.6 percent decision-makers pay attention to the media, while 51.6 percent indicate that decision-makers sometimes show interest in the media while 28.8 percent told that decision-makers never care about media.

Regarding the influence of social groups on decision-making in Yemen, the workforce seems to have no influence on the process, according to the study sample. 18.5 percent of the respondents claimed that media personnel have strong influence in decision-making, while 56.6 percent of them stated that media personnel influence on the process is limited.

According to 52.1 percent of the study sample, politicians have strong influence on the decision-making in Yemen, while 35.7 percent of them stated that influence of such a social groups-the politicians- on decision making is limited. More than 60 percent of the sample confirmed that tribal sheikhs have demonstrated strong influence on the process of the decision-making while 30.7 percent said their influence is limited.

Military and security commanders have the strongest influence on decision-making in Yemen, according to 80 percent of the study sample.

The method followed by decision-makers in Yemen while taking any decision is correct according to 12.7 percent of the Yemeni elite, and somewhat correct in light of the responses given by 49.2 percent of them. On the contrary, 37.8 percent of the study sample considered the method, pursued by the decision-makers when taking their decisions as wrong.

Aids and advisors to the top decision-makers in Yemen are the most important source of information that they consult upon realizing any decision, said 42.4 percent of the Yemeni elite. Reports of intelligence and security agencies constitute one of the major information sources for the top decision-makers, according to 34.4 percent of the sample, followed by official institutional channels, as responded by 15.7 percent of the elite.

The decision-making mechanism gets changed when the decision taken concerns an extraordinary circumstances, or a fatal crisis, stated 48.2 percent of the respondents. 38.3 percent of them provided that such a mechanism sometimes gets changed, compared to 13 percent who are of the opinion that under no circumstances may the decision-making mechanism changed.

The majority of the Yemeni elite consider any decision that the decision-makers takes when encountering a crucial situation or a crisis such as Hunaish Island Crisis or the War on Terrorism, as correct with respect to a long-term influence or somewhat correct with respect to a short-term influence. Their responses to both options were 39.4 and 38.7 percent, respectively.

55.3 percent of the sample agreed that the decisions are exclusively taken by the top political official and no other body exerts such overwhelming power and influence. While only 16.3 percent of the Yemeni elite somewhat agree with the provided option while 28.4 percent of them disagree with it.

What was most intriguing however was the phenomenon of corruption in the state's agencies, where 62% of those surveyed stated that they felt it hada strong influence on the process, 25.8 percent said that such a phenomenon often influences the process and only 8 percent of them mentioned that the phenomenon sometimes influences decision-makin

The targeted elite group for this conducted poll included 535individuals, including politicians, academics, media personnel, civil society organizers,, parliamentarians, intellectuals, shoura council members, businessmen and advocates.

The current constitution of the Republic of Yemen contains a number of provisions that espouse the right of social participation in decision-making Furthermore, they explain in detail the right of the public to participate in decision making via the elected bodies in various constitutional articles.

For example, Article 16 of the Constitution doesn't grant the executive authority the right to process or pass loans, guarantee the repayment of loans or get involved in a project necessitating spending from the State's treasury, without strict state approval.

Article 62 of the Constitution grants the Parliament the right to approve laws, to state general policies, the general plan for economic and social development, and the state's budget and final account. According to this article, “Parliament shall oversee works of the executive authority.”

While, Article 78 stipulates that Parliament is the body in charge of approving economic and social development plans.