Initiatives for national reform (Part 2) [Archives:2006/967/Opinion]

July 27 2006

By: Abdulrrahim Muhsin
The proposal of Hamid Al-Ahmar also suggests that the current president of the republic and his sons, the vice president, the speaker of parliament and his sons should not being allowed to run for the upcoming presidential elections. Furthermore, the members of the president's family should not nominate themselves for the presidential election. This condition also applies to family members of Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmar, those of the prime minister and vice president and family members of those who formerly occupied those posts for the four decades leading up to 2006. The key aspect of this proposal is that even the family of the publisher of the proposal is excluded from presidency. This indicates a new type of behavior from those in power, opening the way for a more distinguished political, economic and cultural era.

The initiatives that appeared during the year 2005-2006 are not suitable for serious adoption in a climate under which internal and external political partnerships are refused, while the plundering of wealth and widespread corruption continue. There is the “plan for rectifying the course of unity” whose presence and role has been established inside the political process but opposed by the political authority. These issues receive international interest and will play a major role in the “popular revolution” however only serve to worsen the trend towards political incredibility. The military rule refuses to sit at the negotiating table and the opposition has not taken a serious stance with regard to participating in the political process at a national level. This lack of dialogue may affect the national initiatives in that excuses will abound as to the prevalence of loose and empty slogans.

The political arena has also witnessed an initiative by the MP Sultan Al-Samie, published on the last page of Al-Thawri newspaper. The article aroused a tumultuous reaction, with authorities using all means of terror tactics to discourage Al-Samie in his objectives. The initiative is summarized by dividing the republic into regions, thereby changing the system of the state presidency. Yemen has experienced this experiment more than once before.

Another initiative, published in Danmar, includes the adoption of federalism. This proposal has also received a good deal of opposition. Having been written by an individual, it was ignored by the political arena.

My viewpoint, having studied Al-Ahmar's initiative, is that it protects the republic from:

– The regional and sectarian fragmentation witnessed during the 1994 war and the war of 2005-2006 in Saada.

– Fighting caused by political and financial regional families competing for power.

– All forms of military government that pose more of a threat than even the royal imamate rule.

– Absolute autocratic rule that may be crippling the development of Yemeni society.

– Conspiracies, coups and campaigns of violence, aimed at securing power for military rule, the families of which have been in place for more than quarter of a century.

– Neglect of the southern question and assurance that it is a matter solvable by responsible and transparent dialogue.

I believe that it is necessary for the JMP to pay attention to the proposal and seriously consider its adoption with a view to possible negotiations with the system of military rule. They must not simply choose a token candidate for the presidential election. The ball is now in the court of the JMP.

Abdulrrahim Muhsin is a well-known Yemeni journalist and opposition activist. He was a former media person of the presidency office.