Election of Shura Council Members Islah Sets new Initiative for Political Coalition [Archives:2001/11/Law & Diplomacy]

March 12 2001

Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi
Yemen Times
[email protected]
A well-informed source at the Yemeni presidency stated last Thursday that the Yemeni leadership intends to create a new mechanism for the election of Shura council members instead of appointment by the president, which was allowed by the recent constitutional amendments passed on referendum last month. The amendments stipulate that the president has the right to appoint the shura council members. The source added that the leadership was serious about this and a draft law which could be passed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh late this year is being studied and proposes the election of 111 members of the Shura council. The sources expected that, according to the new mechanism, the 7032 members of the local councils, both at district as well as governorate levels will elect the members of the Shura council in which Yemen will be one electoral constituency.
The idea is expected to be welcomed by all political parties that criticized the appointment of the Shura council members during the constitutional amendments debates. The idea of giving the Shura council some of parliament’s privileges was ruthlessly criticized too.
Political observers believe this measure will embroil the country in the turmoil of another political fight as such a procedure needs further constitutional amendments.
Sources at the PGC welcomed late last week the declaration of the Islah party concerning the finishing-off of the strategic coalition between the two parties. The Secretary General of the Islah, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Yadomi declared in an interview with Al-Jazera Satellite Channel last Wednesday the death of the coalition between Islah and PGC after the violent incidents that took place between them during the recent local elections. He described the so-called” strategic coalition” between the two parties as a mere ” political joke”, adding that such a coalition created a lot of problems for his party. He also held PGC accountable for the irregularities and violence that coincided with the recent local elections. He stressed that such action on the part of the PGC might force Islah and other opposition parties to boycott the 2003 parliamentary as well as local elections.
Mr. Al-Yadomi presented a new initiative to rebuild the political coalition between his party and other parties including PGC and YSP, adding that there are certain predetermined principles for such a coalition. He added that such an initiative should be based on the neutrality of military forces in elections or otherwise military people should be given the right to nominate or they should be banned from voting altogether, limiting their role to ensuring that elections are legitimate. He stressed that if the military position remains the same and in favor of the PGC, other political parties will be seriously affected. Al-Yadomi also called for fighting against the financial as well as administrative corruption that perverts all government offices and for the neutrality of official media and for resisting all aspects of normalization with Israel. Al-Yadomi indicated that such things could destroy any coalition between Islah and any other party.
Besides this, he revealed for the first time that Islah was pressurized by PGC into taking part in the 1997 parliamentary elections, adding that PGC officials told them that if Islah boycotted the elections, a state of emergency would be declared and that the democratic margin would be contracted.
In this way, Islah has succeeded in putting a new test to PGC in administering the political game in the country. The question that remains now is: who will hang the bell on the cat’s neck?