Local council elections results analysis [Archives:2006/990/Viewpoint]

October 16 2006

The results of the local council elections were disappointing especially after such a long delay. It is not about the results as such, so as is to say who won the majority, it was the lack of plurality.

The seats for various political parties and independents in the last elections gave a more colored scenario of the political process in Yemen. However, this time the results showed more than 70 percent for a single party – the ruling GPC – and the rest divided among the other political parties and independents.

There are a few reasons that could lead to the homogeneous results.

Many of the citizens who voted for opposition parties previously, said this did not do them good. “When we got the Islah candidate elected in our district he could not do much for our village, when we elected the GPC candidate we got the roads paved,” one voter explained why he voted for the GPC candidate this time.

Another reason is frankly attributed to the additional salary awarded to all government employees right before election day. This move persuaded many people to vote for the ruling party. “We had one concern in our lives, poverty. When the president ordered one salary extra, that concern seemed to vanish temporarily and we went to vote feeling pleased with the government,” according to my aunt, a teacher in a village in Taiz governorate.

The strong efforts executed on the public level by the ruling party following its loss in the previous local council elections while the opposition dedicated all efforts to the presidential competition.

And finally, many Yemenis did not really distinguish between the presidential and local council elections in concept, especially since they were held at the same time. Many Yemenis were coached to vote for the horse, being the GPC's symbol, because it was easier to distinguish it for illiterate citizens and so many ticked all the horses they saw in all the forms, whether presidential, governorate level or local councils.

Obviously there is always the most straight forward explanation, it is simply the people's choice. This means around 70 percent of the total voters decided the GPC is best for the country's future, just like how 77 percent of the voters decided Saleh is our leader.