JMP was absolutely dominated by Islah in 2007 [Archives:2008/1170/Opinion]

July 7 2008

Abdulmalilk Al-Fohidi
In 2007 the opposition, Yemen's main opposition Islah Party, one of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) members with notable Islamic orientation, maintained political and media sway over the opposition coalition, which is also comprised of Yemen Socialist Party, the Nasserite Unionist Popular Organization, Al-Haq Party and Union of Popular Forces.

Since the establishment of the JMP in 2003 the Islah Party tried to impose its hegemony on other members of the opposition coalition, taking advantage of their weakness and their internal problems, and at the same time utilizing its own financial capabilities that are bigger than those of other JMP members.

The Islah has found in the JMP as a political instrument to make up for breaking relations with its former ally the General People's Congress (GPC). Therefore, the major opposition party continued imposing its dominance over the JMP, especially after withdrawal of other parties from the block, mainly the Arab Baath Socialist Party and the September Congregation.

Islah hegemony on the JMP greatly emerged during the period that preceded the presidential and local elections in Yemen in 2006. The Islah then played an influential role in the nomination of Eng. Faisal Bin Shamlan as the JMP candidate for president. Despite the fact that Bin Shamlan is independent, his aides are closer to the Muslim Brotherhood

The Islah Party also demonstrated absolute dominance over managing the electoral campaigns for JMP ahead of the most recent presidential and local council elections that took place in September 2006 to the extent that it has excluded many of its allies in the governorates and even worse their participation in the campaigning.

In total contrast to expectations of some political observers in Yemen predicting that the parties of the JMP would prepare an assessment of their performance in the last year in line with results of the electoral defeat they suffered in the presidential and local elections, particularly the YSP and the Nasserite Organization which have lost much of their support because of their subservience to Islah party in the elections, the Islah intentionally worked to tighten its control on the JMP during the year 2007.

The situation made some observers bear in mind that Islah Party has succeeded in rendering its two allies into tools helping it in running its political battle against the ruling party. More importantly, loss of the JMP presidential candidate in the election had represented a defeat for the Islah because of the fragile political background the candidate demonstrated while running for President.

The Islah hegemony over the JMP was clearly seen in many aspects mainly in decision-making and employment of the JMP as a fuel source for practices and activities run by civic society organizations that affiliate with the Islah Party.