Dr. Mohammed Abdulmajeed al-Qubati, the Chairman of the GPC Political Office”GPC has taken a keen interest on including women in development” [Archives:2003/633/Community]

April 27 2003

Yemenis have gone to polls to choose parliamentary members. Yemenis have already experienced two parliamentary elections in 1993 and 1997 and the presidential elections in 1999, in which the GPC got a head of all political rivals.
In this context, the 27 April elections are of great significance of the democratic experience in Yemen.
Those elections have coincided with internal as well as external incidents. The election campaign has passed and vote counting process to announce the results of the 27 April election has begun. Despite some breaches that have accompanied the election campaign, it has proved itself to be better than the previous ones.
The political observers say that there is a significant factor in those elections, that is, a political meeting has already been held with an agreement of sharing parliamentary seats among political parties. Others say that those parties have committed themselves to the election agreement control to be performed honestly.
To shed light on this topic, Yemen Times reporter Hassan al-Zaidi met interviewed Dr. Mohammed Abdulmajeed al-Qubati, Chairman of the GPC Political Office and filed this report:

Q: To what extent the political parties have showed a commitment to running a honest elections, and what are the reasons behind enacting the agreement of election control?
A: The main reasons behind this agreement is that all political parties work collectively to ensure that the present parliamentary election has to be honest and transparent and away from violence or the use of force. An emphasis has been placed to seek arbitration of the constitution and the law.
We have all the same tendencies to show a strong adherence to the law and all of us have agreed to settle disputes which may occur during elections. In addition to this, the call for the national alignment has stemmed from a far-sighted understanding of the region's current circumstances and out of the extraordinary of our reality, especially the incidents such as the assassination of some political figures like Jarallah Omar and killing of some foreigners. All those negative aspects might be reflected on the election process. The agreement has basically centered on that the election has to be conducted distinguishably.

Q: But some opposition parties are skeptical about extent of the GPC's commitment to what has been signed, how do you comment on that?
A: We are at the GPC keen to reach such an agreement regarding the election control. There is already an initiative taken by an international organization for development of the election system. We were about to reach an agreement consisting of 25 articles. But, the Islah Party opposed the agreement and at last moment before signing it. Before signing the agreement we issued a circulation for our members calling them to avoid whatever could arouse disturbance. We are in not in a position nor want to exchange accusatory remarks.

Q: Woman's role in the 27 April election has been marginalized by political parties and she is not given the right to compete, why have you backed off allocation of specific constituencies for woman, what is the ruling party's stand in this regard?
A: Our initiative for allocating election constituencies only for woman has been taken by the GPC.
We are as a political parties have to enhance this initiative within the framework of election control agreement.
But, the Islah members say that they weren't well-prepared for this purpose and what is needed is years to approve such proposal.
The joint meeting parties have also quashed this right.
Perhaps the 27 April election is of great importance due to the strong competition among parties.

Q: But where does the GPC's stance stand?
A: We at the GPC see that woman's participation is related to the development and that women are an integral part of it.
The GPC has taken a keen interest to include women in development .

Q: Would the national alignment solve problems that might result after the elections? Is there a secret agreement reached on sharing posts in the upcoming government?
A: We want to confirm here that the initiative of the national alignment agreement has been taken by the president of the republic. This has been done with the view of enhancing the political democratic practice for parties on the basis of deepening law and constitution. The new government has nothing to do with dividing the seats or coalition. The main objective is to come out with an overall strategy of the Yemeni constitution through enhancing the political pluralism and the peaceful transfer of power. The main objective of the national alignment is to determine strategic tasks that should be implemented by the parties towards building and completing the modern Yemen.
As politicians, we have to take into consideration the stiff changes that should be applied to reality.

Q: How do you view the Yemeni upcoming government?
A: It is widely known that Yemen has been featured by a strategic location at the international level. It has coasts overlooking the most important waters for marine transport and more than half of world maritime transport traffic frequent it. This state unless governed by law and order, it will die and can not perform its roles properly. So, in this case, the national alignment is the means to enhance the democratic experience towards civil orientation.

Q: How do you perceive the coming government if the GPC has won the majority and what future awaits the government after it failed to achieve former programs?
A: We are seeking to win the majority of seats in order to achieve objectives of our election platform. Undoubtedly, what has been said earlier will be one of the goals of the GPC government. The next government has to show an adherence towards development and maintaining security. Without security, nationwide development can not be achieved and that the states' modern institutions have to be built.
The issue of development was related to the Yemeni-Saudi issue. After settling the border dispute with our brothers in Saudi Arabia, the USS Cole incident, along with the September 11 attacks in the US and the attack on the French tanker Limburg have created a certain climate that hindered greatly the government's capability.

Q: Will the GPC achieve a sweeping majority?
A: We don't seek a sweeping majority and this has been fabricated by some parties' media. We comprehend that there would not be a powerful authority without a powerful opposition for it is the other side of the authority. The GPC has been seeking to win 180 seats of the parliament while the opposition wins 120 seats. We aim at achieving a balance between the legislative authority and the executive authority. In order to perform its role properly, the upcoming parliament will perform its monitoring task and issue the required legislation on the basis of taking interests of the people's into consideration.
Q: What is the difference between the 27 April 2003 elections and the previous ones?
A: The most significant aspect that haunts our minds is to make Yemen more distinguished for being one of the emerging democracies. The democratic experience during this stage has been greatly enhanced. This is clearly shown when 8 million male registrants and around 3 million female ones have practiced their democratic rights. I hope that the GPC will achieve a majority of seats in order to achieve the desired balance.

Q: Any last comment?
A: Finally, we thank the Yemen Times for its capability to read the events. It is by no means one of the best newspapers in Yemen and that is a clear testimony for good successes made by its editor-in-chief and the staff.