As The Candidates Prepare for the Race for the Presidency: Please Show Some Competition [Archives:1999/31/Front Page]

August 2 1999

Time is passing by, and the candidates are showing their cards. But what is evident from the proceedings is that there will be little competition between the two candidates, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Mr. Najeeb Qahtan Al-Shaabi. According to the regulations, the presidential campaign will start just 14 days before the presidential elections take place on September 23. So far, there are no indications that there is going to be a competitive race between the two candidates. 
In a survey launched by the Yemen Times, it was clearly evident that the general public is not satisfied with the platform given by the relatively unknown second candidate, Najeeb Qahtan Al-Shaabi, as it showed neither willingness nor sincerity and seriousness in going for the top executive position in the government. Furthermore, people feel that he is not willing to put up a tough fight for the post. Notwithstanding his rejection of the Al-Thawri Newspaper objections, the position of the candidate is still not clear enough. Is he really eligible for competing, or should he just resign and withdraw rather than being used as a puppet. The widespread feeling among most Yemenis is that, in the end, the elections will be nothing more than a referendum. The only way to overcome such pessimism would be to have a real full fledged race, with both sides having access to the same resources needed to gain public favor. That would not appear to be the case in the first direct election for the Presidency of the Republic. Some even wonder if it was worth it to have the elections at all, for that matter..