IFES report recommends changes to Yemen’s election law [Archives:2005/835/Local News]

April 21 2005

SANA'A- April 19- IFES- Yemen has submitted a report to the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) recommending significant changes to Yemen's election law.

IFES- Yemen Country Director Dr. Paul Harris said that the country's 2003 parliamentary elections are recognized as a significant improvement on previous elections. However, they also suggested that amendments need to be made to the election law before the presidential and local council elections scheduled for 2006 and the parliamentary elections due in 2009. These amendments should improve the partiality and transparency of the electoral process and deal with a number of omissions, procedural gaps and technical issues in the law.

The report is the result of a yearlong process of consultations and discussions with the SCER, with representatives if 13 political parties and with local and domestic NGOs. This transparent, parliamentary approach to law reform helps strengthen democratic governance. IFES provided a neutral venue for groups representatives to express concerns about the necessary changes to the law and suggest improvements.

The report contains a total of 56 recommendations to the law for action by the SCER. It covers the composition of election committees, voter registrations, boundary delimitation, candidate nominations, voting and counting processes, elections campaigns and finance, local council elections and other matters. The report also contains a draft election law, which incorporates the changes recommended in the report. The report is available in Arabic and English on the IFES website (www.ifes.org).

“t is now up for the SCER, the government and parliament to consider the recommendations in the IFES report and proposals submitted by the political parties and local NGOs so that amendments to the law can be made well before next year's elections,” Dr. Harris said.

IFES is an international, non-profit organization that supports the building of democratic societies by providing expert technical assistance in all areas of democratization and civic education. IFES has worked in Yemen since 1993 and has had an office in Sana'a since 1999. IFES-Yemen is providing training and locally defined technical assistance to the Yemeni Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum.