Gubernatorial appointments under the cover of elections [Archives:2008/1154/Opinion]

May 12 2008

Abdulhafez Al-Faqeeh
A democratic state is usually based on a social contract (Constitution) between the government and people, and under this contract, the ruler acts as a representative of the people. When the ruler contravenes the nation's Constitution or effective laws, people are entitled to depose him via free and fair elections.

Under the Constitution, people are the source of powers since they select their president in a free and direct election, as well as elect Parliament members, governors, district directors and local councilors. Peaceful transfer of power is a basic principle in notably respected constitution while a ruling party may one day be an opposition party as such depends on its performance and popularity that vary from time to time.

The nation's Constitution must be respected by all. So a ruling party should not shape or interpret the constitution the way it wants, or according to its mood, in order to ensure its stay power. This fact is very evident in the Arab regimes, as one hardly finds a ruling party respecting the nation's Constitution and any effective laws.

When it comes to the Yemeni context, the authority gives a top priority to violating the Constitution and laws, as well as amending them in order to extend stay of the ruling party in power, retain the same majority of seats in Parliament or appoint governors under the cover of formal and unrealistic elections.

The Constitution has turned to be 'dough' at the hand of the ruling party, thus shaping it however it wants and whatever it wants. This party spoiled the Constitution, which must not be amended except under a critically urgent circumstance and according to a consensus to be reached by all political partners and forces in the nation.

Amending the Local Authority Law for the sake of governor elections is the clearest evidence of the ruling party's disrespect to the Constitution and dishonesty, as well as its being apathetic to fulfill its electoral promises and implement an initiative it made for producing local governance with broad powers. Even worse, those claiming to back the ruling party and its government were shocked at the shameful result of amending the Local Authority Law.

Amending the relevant law, Parliament added a condition that candidates applying for governor posts must be registered voters in the same governorates where they want to run for governor. On the second day, Parliament nullified such a condition in order to allegedly maintain the 'higher national interest'. If a gubernatorial candidate is not a registered voter in the same governorate where he is running for governor, which local governance is this?

After Parliament voted for the proposed legal amendments, the ruling party learned that most of the current governors are not registered voters, which is why it insisted on nullifying such a condition in order to shape the relevant law in favor of the current governors. The result will be gubernatorial appointments under the guise of elections.

What unjustly happened to the Local Authority Law provides clear-cut evidence that the majority of Parliament members are directed by a remote control device.