Government to Resume Talks with Opposition Today [Archives:2001/33/Front Page]

August 13 2001

Reliable sources disclosed that the opposition parties have disagreed on the decision to resume talks with the PGC regarding the amendments of elections law. The opposition agreed last Tuesday to come back to talks with PGC However YSP and other small parties showed reluctance to resume talks. They said the decide to resume talks with PGC and not the government. However, Islah and the Nasserite party said they agreed from the beginning that the resumption of dialogue would be with the government. They even expressed worry about the fluctuation of the stands of their allies towards the topics to be debated. Political observers told Yemen Times that this disagreement might hit the nail on the head and jeopardize the Opposition Coordination Council.
In another development, the PM Abdulqader Bajamal announced last Thursday that it was expected that dialogue between government and opposition would be resumed today. He added that he had prepared a draft for how dialogue would proceed after sorting out the misunderstanding that made opposition cease the talks. He said the two sides would discuss how to form a National Elections Authority, defining the role and means of work of the Supreme Elections Committee as well as the relationship between the two bodies. Bajamal said the two sides would discuss how to form the SEC, making use of the experience of other emerging democracies. He said dialogue would be based on the constitution, elections law and draft amendments as well as the opinions of both government and opposition.
The opposition parties including Islah decided to resume dialogue with PGC on draft amendments on Election Law and not with the government of Mr. Abdullkader Bajammal as a protest against the government’s decision to raise the price of diesel by 70%. Sources told YT that the resumption came as a result of the flexibility of the ruling party, PGC towards the standpoint the opposition. The sources added that PGC agreed to create a good media atmosphere so as to make the dialogue a success, coming out with fruitful results. The sources said PGC showed good will when it agreed to the opposition request to cancel the government meeting with minor parties excluding main political parties like Islah and Socialist. The meeting was due on last Saturday but it was canceled. The opposition sources said PGC is no more clinging to view points and inflexibility the government showed out in its talks with the opposition during the last few weeks. PGC expressed its willingness to listen to the opposition views relating to the reform of the electoral system as means of conducting the discussions on this topic.
While the opposition said it will continue resisting the rise of prices of diesel and other materials, PGC said it is not rational to match between the price hikes and dialogue on amendments of Election Law. Opposition now says freezing the dialogue was not only because of price rises but also because of the government’s indifference towards the opposition opinion. However, informed sources said that President Ali Abdullah Saleh interfered through leaders in the PGC to rescue the dialogue that came into a halt may be because of misunderstanding between PM and the opposition. It seems that the government is flexing the muscles of the opposition by this dialogue.