GPC leaders: We will accept nobody but Saleh [Archives:2006/942/Front Page]

May 1 2006

Yasser Al-Mayasi
SANA'A, April 30 ) General People's Congress (GPC) leaders declared this week their adherence to Ali Abdullah Seleh's candidacy for another presidential term. They released a statement reading: “we will never accept anyone as our presidential candidate other than Ali Abdullah Saleh.”

Sheikh Yasser Al-Awadhi, deputy head of GPC parliamentary bloc said his party, considered the biggest political organization in Yemen, will never take part in Yemen's upcoming presidential elections if pressure fails to convince Saleh to come back on his decision not stand in the poll.

In a statement to media, Al-Awadhi confirmed the GPC will stand in the poll as a voter without naming a presidential candidate in this case.

He indicated pressures on Saleh to run for president have not succeeded up until now. Al-Awadhi stressed that GPC leaders will continue exerting pressure on Saleh, saying he is optimistic that the statesman will listen to the voice of his party at the end, preferring the national interest to his desire for rest.

Head of PGC Media and Culture Office Tareq Al-Shami said it is difficult for his party to name a candidate other than Saleh. He added that Saleh's decision not take part in the elections shocked the GPC and made it in a critical situation.

According to Al-Shami, if Saleh insists on his decision, the ruling party will only take part in the local elections and quit the presidential ones. “Saleh is my only candidate for the upcoming presidential race as the GPC leaders unanimously agreed at the party's seventh general conference in Aden last year”, he said. Al-Shami insisted on what Al-Awadhi said earlier.

GPC leaders have been putting pressure on Saleh since he declared ending his rule saying he wants to rest and it is time for new youthful faces to rule the nation in July 2005.

Statements by the ruling party fueled outrage among opposition leaders who criticize behavior of GPC officials. Yemeni Socialist Party leader Ali Al-Sarari said the ruling party's statements signify that the GPC is the president's party and not a party for the people. “GPC does not seek nor does it reflect ambitions of the people,” Al-Sarari commented.

Yemen's political scene experiences sharp controversies over the upcoming presidential and local polls, coupled with the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum refusing to involve other parties in voter registration committees.