MP Outside Parliament [Archives:1998/25/Reportage]

June 22 1998

Morad Saleh Hajeb stood as an independent candidate in the parliamentary elections of 1997. With the victory sign as his symbol, Hajeb was known as “the friend of the law” in Constituency No. 33, Taiz.
Mr. Hajeb did not win in the elections in 1997, as he alleges that his name was written on the back of the voting cards which made the voters unable to see it. “This greatly decreased my chances,” Hajeb bitterly complained.
On May 14, 1997, he filed a law suit against the Supreme Elections Committee (SEC), claiming YR 7 million as a moral and material compensation. Moreover, he asked for a re-run of the elections in Constituency No. 33 in “a more legal manner.”
At the South-West Sanaa Primary Court, SEC officials said, “it was a technical mistake because it was hard to distinguish between the back and the front of the cards.” They also said that they had to put his name on the back of the cards since the cards were too small to include all the names on the front.
To ensure fair play, the SEC claimed, the candidates names were arranged according to the dates of lodging their nomination applications. “Hajeb’s name came at the end because he applied last,” they explained. On May 31, 1997, the Primary Court decided to refuse Hajeb’s appeal, and asked him to pay YR 5,000 as a punishment for his false charge. The court supported its decision by referring to Article No. 64 in the Elections Law and Article No. 25 in the Executive Guide, according to which candidates’ names must be arranged according to the date of their applications.
Hajeb’s name was seen by members of the elections sub-committee supervising Constituency No. 33 as the voting cards were folded up and put into the ballot boxes. “This clearly contradicts Article No. 64 which indicates that the voting process must be done in a secret manner and that no one is allowed to see anything written on the voting cards,” indicated Hajeb.
On July 30, 1997, Hajeb appealed again and supported his appeal also with articles 64 and 52. He demanded a preliminary court order allowing him to attend parliamentary sessions until the court made a final decision concerning his appeal.
On March 18, the SEC, at the Primary Court, reiterated its excuse that it was necessary to put Hajeb’s name on the back of the cards since the cards were too small to include all the candidates names.
On May 16, 1998, the Appeal Court decided to refuse Hajeb’s appeal and to approve the decision of the Primary Court, saying that the primary decision was taken on May 31, 1997 and Hajeb appealed on September 12th , 1997 – 60 days after the time allowed for appealing.
It is worth mentioning that Hajeb made his appeal on July 30, 1997 and not on September 12, 1997, as the Appeal Court claimed. Mr. Hajeb says that he has all the official papers and signatures to prove it.
From June 8, 1997, Hajeb joined the parliamentary sessions, outside the parliament as a means of protest against the “injustice of it all.”