Attempt to dissolve Al-Haq opposition party fails [Archives:2007/1034/Front Page]

March 19 2007

Moneer Al-Omari
SANA'A, March 17 ) In a surprise move, Al-Haq Party Secretary-General Ahmed Al-Shami announced the opposition party's dissolution.

Al-Haq's executive committee nominated Hassan Mohammed Zaid, head of its political department, to act in Al-Shami's place, considering the secretary-general's actions a personal resignation. It also explained such actions as resulting from pressure related to the ongoing war in Sa'ada.

The party announced that Al-Shami had no right to dissolve Al-Haq, noting that its internal bylaws don't empower him to make such a decision. According to Zaid, Al-Shami's action was invalid because neither the secretary-general nor the Parties Affairs Committee has the right to dissolve the party. The only authority able to do so is Al-Haq's general conference.

“The Parties Affairs Committee dealt with the matter irresponsibly and should have referred to the law and the party's internal bylaws. Al-Shami would have had to submit his resignation to the party or gather party leaders for dissolution,” Zaid explained.

According to chapter six of Al-Haq's bylaws, dissolving the party or merging with another party is conditioned by the consent of a majority at the party's general conference, including the executive committee, the Supreme Authority and the Shoura Council.

Zaid further asserted that Al-Shami's announcement was made under pressure, although he's unaware of who advised Al-Shami to do so. He noted that the secretary-general periodically threatened resignation, particularly during stressful moments.

He maintained that the current situation prevents Al-Haq from holding its first general conference, referring to the ongoing war in Sa'ada and Hajjah, together with recent arrests in Dhamar, Mahwit and the capital. However, he assured members that the conference will be held as soon as the situation improves.

Zaid denounced the harsh campaign Al-Shami was subjected to by opponents, including harassment aimed at blackmailing Al-Haq leaders in an attempt to subvert the democratic process in Yemen, citing this as the principle reason for his resignation.

He also condemned dubious campaigns by some official newspapers personally targeting the former secretary-general, as well as pressures upon him to cease publishing the party's Al-Amah newspaper, noting that Al-Shami ordered the cessation of last Wednesday's edition. Zaid also voiced regret over the seizure of some party property by one of Al-Shami's sons.

Al-Haq issued a statement voicing surprise at the suspension of YR 400,000 in government support for the party, considering it a sign of the state's intolerance of it, its newspaper and its enlightened approach to Islam.

Zaid reiterated his assurance that the Parties Affairs Committee has no right to issue a resolution dissolving any party, even if it loses all its members, as the issue may be referred to the judiciary. He also denounced the recent arrests of party leaders and members, viewing such a step as a dubious move against Al-Haq, as well as multi-party democracy in Yemen.

Al-Haq's Dhamar branch announced its rejection of Al-Shami's order to dissolve the party and requested party leaders investigate the issue according to its internal bylaws agreed upon by party members.

At its extended meeting, party leaders from across Dhamar expressed their regret regarding the former secretary-general's unauthorized behavior, maintaining that he conducted himself as if the party was his own personal property.

They went on to say that the attempt to wipe Al-Haq from Yemen's political map will only benefit the enemies of pluralism and democracy in Yemen. Their statement called upon political parties and civil society organizations to show solidarity with Al-Haq – in the name of the Joint Meeting Parties – against plans attempting to weaken it.

Al-Shami sent a March 13 letter signed by several other founding party members, including scholars Mohammed Al-Mansour and Hamoud Abbas Al-Moyyad, to the Parties Affairs Committee, informing it of the decision to dissolve Al-Haq after being unable to agree on its general goals. The party hasn't held a general conference since it was established in 1995.