Nasserite Party Convention [Archives:1999/17/Reportage]

April 26 1999

On the occasion of the 9th Ninth General Convention, the Yemen Times interviewed the followed persons:
Abdul Nasser Taha, Secretary-General of Al Ittihad Party in Lebanon.
Q: What is the purpose of your visit to Yemen?
A: I am here at the invitation of the Nasserite Unionist Party to participate in their Ninth Conference activities.
Q: How did you did Yemen?
A: I had many different ideas on this country, dear to all Arabs. The re-unification, the democratic process, freedom of the press and expression, etc. are all important achievements. This nation is also homeland to important pan-Arab national movements. This is to be expected as Yemen is the original home of all Arabs.
Q: How about the Nasserite Convention?
A: There is a distinctive importance to the Nasserite Unionist Party. The conference also shows their important presence in Yemen.
Q: What kind of contact or cooperation exists between your party and the NUP?
A: We have constant contact, and we share in participation in several pan-Arab gatherings. We exchanged information and coordinate positions vis-avis regional and international issues. After all, we are both Nasserite parties, which makes us close in reading of history, strategy for the future, etc.
Mohammed Al Khateeb Abu Fakher, Member of the Central Committee of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fateh).
Q: Is this your first visit to Yemen?
A: No, this is not my third visit to Yemen. I am here this time to attend the Ninth Convention of the Nasserite Party.
Q: How do you assess the meetings so far?
A: Of course, our participation is limited to the ceremonial sessions of the occasions. The substantive meetings are limited to the party rank and file. But my feeling is that we are witnessing a truly open debate.
Q: What is your vision concerning the future of Arab democracies?
A: The Arab regimes are facing a crisis. The Arab public is not participating in the real decisions regarding the great risks the Arab nation faces.
In any way, it is not possible to pass a blanket judgement of democracy in all Arab countries. There is tremendous difference.
Dr. Abdullah Dahhan, an elected member of the new Central Committee of the NUP
Q: What are your impressions of the on-going convention?
A: As a member of the Nasserite Unionist Party and as a Yemeni citizen concerned with the democratic process, I am proud with what we have achieved. We have been looking forward to this day to enhance democratic reality in Yemen.
Q: On the lights of the resolutions of the ninth Nasserite Convention, how do you see the Nasserite experience in Yemen?
A: Talking about the Nasserite experience could take long as it encompasses approximately half a century. Every body knows that Nasserite movement in Yemen draws on principles of the 23rd of July Revolution under the leadership of the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser.
Q: Does your party have plans to expand the horizontal and vertical presence?
A: The convention discussed the general lines of the party that include possible expansion of the party’s membership base.We hope that we will be able to implement the resolutions in this matter.
Q: How do you evaluate political participation in Yemen?
A: Party affiliation in Yemen has gained wide depth after the unification, political pluralism, and democracy. The political map is constantly drawn and re-drawn as parties make gains and losses.
We in the NUP will extend our hands to all national forces to improve the implementation of the democratic concept.
Dhia El Din Dawood, a lawyer, is Secretary General of the Arab Nasserite Democratic Party (ANDP).
Q: What bring you to Sanaa?
A: I was invited by the Nasserite Unionist Party to attend its 9th convention. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Party’s 8th convention, so I was careful this time not to miss the opportunity.
Q: What are your party’s relations with the NUP?
A: We in ANDP extend our hand for maximum cooperation with all national parties and political forces on the Arab World, especially at these critical times. Arab rulers are now isolated from their peoples and are thus unable to influence or direct events. That’s why I said that these populist parties should take the initiative and play a leading rule.
Q: Yemenis often talk about the democracy margin which they believe exist in their country. They are also trying to further improve on it. What is your own assessment of this?
A: I think we should encourage any progress in the direction. I do feel the tide of democracy in Yemen is moving in the right direction. Compared to the rest of the Arab world, the situation in Yemen is much better.
We have seen in this convention a spectrum of contrasting political parties, a thing which does not exist in other Arab countries. Add to that the fact that the Government itself receives the participants, hosts them and does every thing to make their stay easy and comforting.
Q: How do you look to the future of Arab democracies?
A: It is difficult to be over optimistic, given the many tragedies and shortcomings. I think in recent years we have witnessed democracy beginning to ebb in some places in the Arab countries. What happened in Lebanon is in my opinion some sort of regression. Some signs of democratization in a number of the Gulf countries is now being reigned in. There is also a feeling that democracy in the Arab countries of North Africa has backslided.
There are other places, however, where the tide of democracy is still strong, which is a good thing to see. In any case, I think as parties it’s our responsibility to take the initiative and not to leave the future of democracy to be determined by the rulers. We have to compel them to move ahead with democracy.
Mohammed Abdulmajid Mangounee, Member of the Politburo of the Arab Socialist Union Party, a Syrian opposition party.
Q: Is this your first visit to Yemen?
A: Yes, Yemen has always been a place of interest and reverence for the Arab man. I was attracted to visit Yemen by the impressions I formed through reading and through my contacts with my friends. When I first landed in this country, I was happily surprised by a number of encounters. First and foremost of all is the greatness of the Yemeni person who conquered his difficult physical natural habitat. He cultivated mountain sides, a sign of this greatness.
Q: What do you make of the political climate in Yemen?
A: I was very delighted with the political tolerance in this country and the friendly atmosphere existing between the different political bodies and their open mentality to accept the Other.
Although I was invited by the Nasserite Unionist Party, I have been able to meet with leaders in the PGC, the Islah, and even in the Ba’ath Party. These meetings have created an impression that no matter how contrasting the views can be, there is a national consensus to deal with them in a civilized way.
In short democracy in Yemen, though young, has created a hope that it is possible to have democratic systems in the Arab Homeland.
Nabila Ahmed A Al-Absi
Teacher, Education Specialist. Member of the Central Committee of the NUP.
Q: What are the main achievements of the 9th General Convention of the NUP?
A: I think there are many achievements. The very democratic climate in which the events took place is in itself important.
Q: As a woman, are there any gender specific issues that you promoted?
A: Of course, we discussed ways and means to empower women. Female participation in public life, and in the overall development of the nation is vital.
I am happy to note that seven women were elected to the Central Committee of our party, a solid 10% of the total.
According to the ninth national congress of the Democratic Nasserite Peoples Union, the real meaning of democracy is the adoption of the principle criticism and self criticism and work with it. The conference stand on the positive and the negative issues and strategies of the past will help us to organize ourselves in a better manner. We will escape the negative aspects of the past, and undertake more positive steps and overcome the previous mistakes.
Concerning the outcome of the conference, it was done in a democratic way and was satisfying. It was representing the majorities opinion. One of the main conclusions was the increase of the female members for the central committees by 10 % of the total number.
We in Yemen live in an acceptable democracy despite of all the obstacles and overtaking the laws regarding the protection of freedom of expression because we still have the hope to make things better.
Alwahdawi organization is a distinctive phenomenon in Yemen and that’s because of the congresses it has held.
And the Nasserite experience has proved its presence in the Arabian countries.
Newly Elected General Secretariat of the NUP
1. Abdul-Malik Al-Mikhlafi, General Secretary
2. Ali Saif Hassan, Assistant General Secretary
General Secretariat Members
1. Abdul-Quddoos Al-Midhwahi
2. Abdulghani Thabit
3. Sultan Hizam Al-Utwani
4. Ali Al-Yazeedi
5. Dr. Mohammed Abu Baker Muhsin
6. Dirhim Ali Ahmed
7. Abdulmajeed Yaseen Noman
8. Hamdan Zaid Mehfil
9. Hashim Ali Abed
10. Abdulraqib Fateh
11. Abdullah Mohammed Saleh Al-Maqtari
12. Mohammed Saeed Dhafir
13. Abduaziz Sultan