Can an Unfamiliar Candidate Really Compete Against President Saleh? The Presidential Race Is On: Ali Abdullah Saleh vs. Najeeb Qahtan Al-Shaabi [Archives:1999/30/Front Page]

July 26 1999

Last Wednesday, the Parliament tightly short-listed the nominees for the position of the President of the Republic of Yemen. Among 30 nominees applying, only 2 were able to pass the 10% required endorsement from the members of the Parliament. It is interesting to note that the only competitor against the president will be Najeeb Qahtan Al-Shaabi, the son of the first president of the former South Yemen, Qahtan Al-Shaabi. Najeeb is a well known ally of the President and a member of the Permanent Committee of the the ruling Party, the People’s General Congress. 
  Presidential Candidates and Votes 
1- Ali Abdullah Saleh – 184 votes 
2- Najeeb Qahtan Al-Shaabi – 39 votes 
3- Khaled Ahmed Ali Al-Zurqa – 25 votes 
4- Ali Saleh Obad Moqbil – 7 votes 
* All the other candidates were not given even a single vote! 
This implies that the elections would merely turn out to be a referendum, unless Al-Shaabi can truly live up to the challenge and launch a very strong campaign against the President. 
However, observers suggest that this is unlikely. On the other hand, disappointment among the opposition parties was quite evident, as their collective nominee, Ali Saleh Obad Moqbil was denied the required endorsement, obtaining only 7 votes. After the voting session was over, the opposition met and released a statement that strongly criticized the authorities for disqualifying their nominee, and as they say it “this brings the country to the pre-democratic era”. The Islah party also expressed its dissatisfaction with the results, even though their party did not give the other candidates a single vote. 
On the occasion of his prequalification as a candidate for the Presidenc, Najeeb Al-Shaabi gave a statement, which started by thanking Parliament and the authorities for making this voting session a “success” for democracy and a boost for moving on with the the democratization process. 

More details on Law & Diplomacy Page