EMT calls for free and fair elections [Archives:2006/979/Front Page]

August 7 2006

Yasser Al-Mayasi
SANA'A, Sept. 5 ) Yemen needs to have free and fair elections. This topic led to a Tuesday symposium entitled, “For Free and Fair Elections” which sought to assist politicians, election observers and others interested in democracy learn about the most recent developments in the elections and exchange information about Yemen's Sept. 20 presidential and local elections.

The Election Monitoring Team and the Yemen Times organized the event.

Senior EMT member Dr. Abdulbari Al-Qadasi confirmed his organization is enthusiastic about increasing Yemeni awareness about democratic culture and human rights. He said the EMT works to develop democratic awareness among youths and support Yemeni women's participation as candidates and voters in the electoral process.

The symposium promoted joint efforts to pave the way for building state institutions and establishing the principle of peaceful transfer of power.

The EMT hopes to be an effective and sustainable organization, as well as exert efforts to boost democratic culture, electoral awareness and the current regime's mandate via research, training and various political and social activities.

According to the EMT, political and social activities help enhance the democratic move and improve relations between Yemeni society's different classes.

Al-Qadasi asserted that free and fair elections inevitably will lead to a democratic regime, which is the genuine interpretation of citizens' wishes.

“Elections monitoring reflects the authenticity of the democratic move and transparency of the electoral process and builds capacities in this area,” he continued, “Election monitoring also deters voting fraud, whether intentional or unintentional.”

Editor-in-Chief Nadia Abdulaziz Al-Sakkaf noted that since its inception, the Yemen Times has cooperated with several organizations to encourage the democratic experience in Yemen and works hard to provide a good climate to enhance democracy.

“We're interested in the elections because they impact everyone. The elections must be free and fair,” she added. Al-Sakkaf ascertained that conducting the elections with a high degree of transparency is a must and that media must exercise their role independently to help the democratic process succeed.

Al-Sakkaf is one of many pushing the ideals of democracy.

“The United States is very interested in democracy in Yemen, in the region and in the world,” said Ann Marie Roubachewsky, public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy. “Democracy has existed in Yemen for some time. At the core of this election is preparation for the future and this country needs strong leadership.”

Strong was echoed by others at the symposium.

“The dialogue we're seeing is great and the competition is very important,” said Jamal Al-Awadhi, Chairman of the National Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development. “We don't need a revolution.”

The EMT is a Yemeni non-governmental organization working to establish democratic culture by promoting democracy and good governance in Yemen. It endeavors to do this via research, training and various activities to strengthen transparency and government accountability.

The EMT seeks to be an active organization and fulfil its mission effectively toward establishing a democratic culture, rights and values, which are essential for good governance, and build public confidence in the integrity of the electoral process.