Al-Sahwa [Archives:2008/1212/Press Review]

December 1 2008

Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008
Top Stories

– Thousands of Yemenis protest against the manipulation of the electoral process

– Journalist arrested by Beidha security authorities over criticizing corruption

– Opposition refuses extension of local council's term

Yemen's opposition has described the extension of local council terms approved by the parliamentary majority of the ruling party as a coup against the political life in Yemen, the website reported. It added that opposition parties released a statement, strongly rejecting this extension, considering this step as evidence of the ruling party's desire to despise the current democratic margin and control politics in the country alone.

Opposition parliamentary blocs left Parliament on Sunday holding the ruling party responsible for any consequences, after Parliament voted on Sunday to extend the term of local councils from three years to seven years.

On a side note, the website reported that Yemen's political scene has reached a deadlock due to differences over election systems and their rules, mainly as the ruling party insists on applying its mechanisms ignoring demands, raised by Joint Meeting Parties (JMP).

Among the demands raised by the opposition alliance are barring government officials from using their influence to affect the vote, confining the registration of voters to their place of birth or residence and guaranteeing the neutrality of public financing and state-run media during election campaigns.

According to the website, GPC lawmakers broke proposed amendments of the election law and approved the old SCER in a way contradicting an agreement reached between the two sides.

After the SCER launched a schedule for voter registration committees to start their job, JMP declared its refusal of those committees labeling them as illegitimate, and urged its members and supporters to boycott the voter registration process.

Thousands of Yemenis have streamed into streets throughout Yemeni provinces protesting against what they called attempts by the authorities to rig the upcoming elections by forging voter registers.

Yemen's security authorities have usually launched arrest campaigns against opposition activists and supporters and opened fire on several occasions in an attempt to impede demonstrations. Security forces arrested dozens and wounded others over the last few days.

JMP branches in various Yemeni provinces further warned the authorities that they will escalate protests if their repressive practices are not suspended.

JMP had called for raising peaceful struggle and boycotting the registration process, stressing the necessity of holding free and affair elections to develop Yemenis' political life and solve the state's numerous crises created by the authorities and their poor polices.