Four Vacant Seats Await to Be [Archives:1997/52/Front Page]

December 29 1997

Filled! When Parliament Breaks the Law
Article (77) of the Yemeni constitution, and Articles (72 and 73) of the Elections Law require that whenever a parliamentary seat becomes vacant, parliament must notify the Supreme Elections Commission to hold elections to fill them up. The laws give three deadlines – within one month, if the seat is vacated due to appointment of the member to an executive post; within 60 days, if the seat is vacated due to death; and within six months, if elections were not completed due to violence. But those stipulations have not been honored. Constituencies #204 (Dhamar) and #283 (Hajjah) were never filled up during the April 1997 elections because of violence. Within 6 months, steps should been taken to give the people of those constituencies their right to parliamentary representation. Four months ago, MP Hassan Al-Matari representing constituency #238 in Sanaa Governorate died. Parliament should have formally notified the SEC to start preparations for elections within 60 days. Two months ago, Bin Rajih representing constituency #93 in Ibb died. So far, no steps have been initiated to fill up this seat. Today, parliament has 297 members. It should have 301. Yemen Times contacted the parliament’s presidium, but got no reply. Then the newspaper contacted the SEC, and Mr. Mansoor Ahmed Saif, Member of the SEC and Head of its Media and Public Relations Department returned the call. He added another problem. “We plan to hold elections in those 4 constituencies, as soon as parliament notifies us. Towards that end, we agreed with Prime Minister Dr. Faraj Bin Ghanim on the financial requirements. However, the Ministry of Finance refuses to make the budgetary allocations.” Thus the 4 constituencies may wait for a while before they will see elections.