GPC & Islah: From Coalition to Confrontation [Archives:2001/11/Focus]

March 12 2001

Jalal Al-Sharaabi
Yemen Times
Many politicians agree that the coalitions that Yemen has experienced in the past have affected democracy and the political balance and have weakened the opposition’s role.
This experience has resulted in a number of negative phenomena that have made the democratic experience and the ballot boxes a matter of bargaining among the coalition parties: GPC, YSP and Islah following the 1993 elections, and between the GPC and Islah following the 1997 elections.
Despite the political leaders’ rejection of such coalitions, the political structure of parties before 1990 made parties seek coalition and coordination with the ruling GPC in all political matters because they realized that democracy in Yemen is not genuine even if they score good results in the elections.
Can we consider what happened during the last elections between the GPC and Islah as a sign of a divorce between the two sides of the coalition? In fact, the GPC seems to be used to accusing the opposition and those who rebel against it and even harming them like what happened to the YSP. Presently, the GPC is accusing the Islah of coordinating with the YSP which portends a confrontation.
It has been obvious that the recent local council elections resulted in a weak democracy. During the elections names of dead people were enrolled as voters and the army, the media and public property were openly exploited by the ruling party. It is feared that the coalition between the GPC and Islah will end in the same way the previous coalition with the YSP ended.
From the coalition to confrontation, the period until the next parliamentary or local council elections will be remarkable for tension and early reactions.
What happened in Al-Haimah, Al-Radhamah and other districts is a message that must be grasped by all. The army will never be able to silence the Islah if the latter bares its teeth. The Scientific Institutes, controlled by Islah, and tribes in Mareb and Al-Gawf play an important role in strengthening the stances and existence of Islah.
To conclude, it is a call to retrieve the situation before it is too late. For, tanks and military camps will not be able to smooth things down if the situation gets out of control.