After a couple of weeks of campaigningAnother democratic experience recorded [Archives:2003/633/Community]

April 27 2003

By Abeer Abdulwahab al-Khadhaf
For the Yemen Times

Voting in any elections is a national democratic duty and responsibility that should be practiced by all citizens. Elections should never be perceived as a political game and people should not underestimate its importance. Being a constitutional right of every citizen in choosing an eligible candidate to represent him/her in the parliament, elections are the right way to convey the people's will peacefully and away from any pressure.
The voting process came after several weeks campaigning by all political parties and candidates. During the vote casting process, citizens probably realize that voting for any candidate they prefer is a way to serve their own country by selecting those whom they feel will be influential in enhancing the country's economy, politics and culture.
Simply put, every citizen should cast his/her vote for an eligible person to hold a suitable position.
The 27th of April parliamentary elections are of great democratic significance in Yemen's history to build upon the democratic structure of Yemen. Just like all other elections, these elections will consolidate democracy in Yemen just as they will in any other country in the world.
However, one must not ignore the fact that such an important event cannot achieve its goals unless there is unified and concrete action by all citizens in the country in voting in the elections and to turn up in good numbers.
Every citizen's concern should be to develop and enhance his own country. Hence, elections should gain the greatest of attention and care by Yemenis because it is the means to do so.
Just as Yemenis went to the polls to choose members of the long-debated parliament, our country should be proud to have its third successful parliamentary elections.
Yemenis have already experienced two parliamentary elections in 1993 and 1997 and also practice their democratic rights during the presidential elections in 1999, and the local council elections in 2001. It was clear however that General People's Congress (GPC) was far ahead of its closest rival.
Yemen's history includes a number of democratic experiences in the political arena, and one cannot deny that the current ruling party, the GPC, along with the other political parties have shown tolerance and adherence to the democratic principles of the constitution in order to make all those elections a success.
Those elections came as fruits of the re-unification of Yemen on May 22, 1990, which is the main accomplishment in Yemen's recent history.
Following re-unification, a number of vital projects have started including the construction of various developmental projects. But among the most important achievements was the emergence of freedom of the press and the setting up of the multi-party system.
The Supreme Commission for Election and Referendum (SCER) has exerted strenuous efforts throughout the preparatory stages for elections, but the greatest and most noticeable efforts were those exerted during the polling day.
The 301 electoral constituencies have been evenly distributed in accordance with the elections law and the population density distribution across the republic.
Independent observers confirmed that despite some flaws, preparations for the 27th of April elections have been performed quite well by the SCER.
In this context, applications for candidatures for the parliamentary membership have been successfully completed for those who were politically affiliated or independents through a 10-day period proceeding the elections.
During the few months before 27 April elections, eligible candidates were proclaimed and the withdrawal of other candidates was allowed.
As we mark this new achievement resembled in our country's third parliamentary elections, we need to appreciate the president's role in stressing on the importance of having those elections as free and as democratic as possible. His desire to make Yemen a truly democratic country, is probably based on his understanding that only through freedom and democracy can Yemen achieve great accomplishments in running the country so as to implement the various financial and administrative reform programs and uprooting corruption and the corrupt officials, and to eventually build a flourishing a strong Yemen.