JMP confirms objection to elections unless demands are met [Archives:2008/1210/Front Page]

November 24 2008

By: Mohammed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, Nov. 23 – The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) held a consultative meeting on Friday during which the opposition coalition's leaders confirmed their objection to the upcoming parliamentary elections unless their demands are fulfilled. The meeting was attended by tens of senior opposition activists, who presented their views on the most important national issues they consider need consultative meetings and dialogues between the various political parties and prominent personalities.

Participants concluded that Yemen is experiencing some of the worst crises on all of the political, economic and social levels. They hold the view that the country is rapidly moving toward a real catastrophe as a result of political congestions that have proved to be one of the prominent causes of the current national crisis.

The JMP's meeting released a statement claiming that the current institutional system in Yemen gives top priority to personal interests of a certain group at the expense of national partnership.

According to the opposition coalition, the government is unable to suggest serious or workable solutions to the current turmoil in the nation, which it said to be the result of poor policies pursued by the government.

During the meeting, opposition leaders raised five negative aspects practiced by the government. First, they accused the government of planning to abort democracy in its stage of infancy since it only cares about the same political party staying in power for as long as possible under inauthentic democracy. They added that the government exploits the state's resources and public funds to ensure the long life of the totalitarian regime, and commented that the authority views democracy as anti-change concept, and therefore cannot replace influential individuals.

Second, the government lacks a national vision to address the dire situation in the south of Yemen and never admits that the issue of military retirees in the southern governorates may affect all Yemenis. The participants noted that ruling party leaders holding key posts in the government prefer personal interest to the national unity.

According to the JMP's statement, the authority tightens the noose around peaceful protests and use power and violence to disperse protesters, as well as crack down on political activists or lock them away in jails, which is why the situation has continued to worsen and problems have become more complicated.

Opposition leaders blamed the government for dragging the nation into further conflicts and civil wars and producing a state of lawlessness and political instability countrywide. They hold the government accountable for this negative phenomenon since it deliberately ignores pressing national issues and restricts freedom of expression through legal means.

Third, the repeated wars waged by the government in the governorate of Sa'ada function as an initial dangerous step toward unprecedented fragmentation in Yemen's political history.

Fourth, the government is not concerned about the current economic crisis, price hikes and citizens' poor living standards amid the spread of corruption in the various government offices. Due to the government's poor policies, unemployment and poverty are on the increase while millions of Yemenis living below the poverty line are threatened by starvation.

Fifth, the state's constitutional institutions are unable to create a good mechanism that can help put an end to notable paralysis hindering the government's performance and effectiveness in addressing pressing issues in the nation.

As part of his interaction with JMP consultations, the Yemeni opposition leader Abdullah Sallam Al-Hakimi, currently residing in Cairo, urged JMP member parties and leaders to do their best to rescue Yemen from potential collapse.

According to Al-Hakimi, opposition leaders need to form a “national rescue front” from patriotic figures, which may function as a national reference to resolve pressing issues and put a stop to political conflicts.

In his letter distributed to the local media outlets, Al-Hakimi said, “This proposed front should be based on a national rescue program and function as a common denominator that can bring various visions and viewpoints of political parties together in the form of collective agreements on certain issues.”

Advisor to President Mohammed Salim Ba Sundwa, who attended the meeting, regretted the dire situations in Yemen and said that patriotism is no longer enough to protect any citizen in this nation.

Ba Sundwa, whose presence surprised the opposition coalition, said, “I am very sad at the state of my homeland, which is progressing backward. We live in a homeland where patriotism cannot protect any of us, while tribal and ethnic affiliation may do.”

“We hope that the upcoming parliamentary elections provide a chance for Yemen to move toward the best,” Ba Sundwa declared, ruling out the possibility of the upcoming elections being held on their determined date. “Conducting the upcoming elections next April as scheduled is a dangerous adventure that may lead the nation into a gloomy tunnel,” he concluded, recommending that the government be prudent in dealing with the issue.