Bequeathal of power or lifetime president [Archives:2008/1179/Opinion]

August 7 2008

By: Ahmad Abdullah Al-Maqrami
Which is more stable and can survive for a longer time period in the world? Constitutions or Laws! In other words, which is more subjected to breakdown and repair? People worldwide know well that respected states acquire this quality (respect) by respecting their constitutions, which they rarely amend or modify only in a way granting more freedoms to people.

In the New Yemen that has its own quality, we find that laws in aggregate are amended as much as the Constitution of the Republic is violated and contravened. Anyone trying to find out a justification for the most recent amendments may see before him nothing other than the ruler's will that shamelessly insist to amend the Constitution.

Therefore, all the justifications provided by all the recruits in power seem to be inadequate to harbor fault of such a desire and will. These justifications also fail to convince those involved that such amendments are right.

The authority only forgets its faults through seducing people with the announcement of various development projects for their areas. It then announces that the amendments it has undertaken are necessary to establish a bicameral legislature under the name of 'Shoura Council', to be added to Parliament. Then, Yemen will have two legislative chambers.

All these allegations are exposed by performance of Parliament that is always controlled by the executive authority, which we metaphorically name 'the Executive', but in fact it is a totalitarian authority.

It is evident that road to the bequeathal of power is not paved, nor is it safe, and walking on it is risky. As a result, we have another option before us: “Why should not the current rule remain for lifetime?” Constitutional amendments in this case ensure getting this task done as long as the Constitution appears to be fragile and the agencies concerned with protecting the constitution obey orders of the ruler whenever he demands to amend or modify it.

This reminds us of the presidential speech given on July 17, 2005 at the Presidential Palace. Yemeni people were surprised to hear that the speech is seeking a new president to lead Yemen as the current president (who was giving the speech) was done and needn't stay in power for any longer. He also renewed his insistence to quit power.

Afterward, we realized that there is a big difference between that address and subsequent attempts to convince the man to run for president in the most recent presidential election that took place in September 2006. We also perceived the strange insistence to conduct constitutional amendments, which ensure, in one way or another, stay of the current president in power for lifetime.

Peaceful transfer of power prohibited:

The peaceful transfer of power has become prohibited from the practical viewpoint. It is also prohibited in the parliamentary elections via edging out role of the Supreme Commission for Election and Referendum and asserting government's dominance over all the aspects of political life.

The peaceful transfer of power will be banned if we inspire for change, as well as wait for an end to the two presidential terms as per the constitution because the Constitution always undergoes surgical operations with the intention of paving the way for bequeathal of power.