NDI’s Mideast director Leslie Campbell:Elections this year”much better” [Archives:2003/633/Community]

April 27 2003

In a meeting with Yemen Times' Editor Walid Al-Saqqaf, Mr. Leslie Campbell, director of NDI's programs in the Middle East and North Africa said that he believes that the parliamentary elections held on April 27th were far better than those held earlier in 1993 and 1997. “Despite a few violations in terms of underage voting, etc., the elections this year seem to be much better than those held in the past. The well-prepared lists of voters and candidates, and the overall good preparations for elections this year show the commitment by the government and political parties to make this event a success.” he said.
Mr. Campbell noted that the more elections are held, the more successful they seem to become. “Another positive aspect of these elections seems to be in the cooperation among all political parties. This has never happened since 1996. I can see that the YSP is participating in these elections, and that joint blocs were formed -such as that between TSP and Islah- Even though there was some stagnancy in the democratic experience of Yemen between 1997 and 2001, the period that followed the local council elections was somewhat rich with good democratic achievements for Yemen.” He added.
When asked about how the democratic experience in Yemen is going, Mr. Campbell responded by indicating that Yemen seems to be going two steps forward and one step back. “The process seems to go through ups and downs, but these elections indicate that Yemen is in a positive phase, which reflects a bright picture.”

NDI's involvement: instrumental
The NDI has been every much involved in the various processes of the elections including the registration, campaigning, and voting stages. NDI along with the UNDP and other organizations have been in full and steady cooperation with the Yemeni government and the Supreme Commission for Election (SCER).
On its involvement in monitoring the voting process, the NDI issued last Wednesday a press release mentioning that on April 22, an NDI-sponsored international delegation arrived in Sana'a, Yemen, to observe the country's third parliamentary elections. The delegation, composed of political leaders, civic activists, and elections and human rights experts from nine different countries, met with Yemeni political party leaders, civil society groups and
journalists to assess the environment leading up to the polls. The delegation was deployed around the country to observe voting and vote counting on elections' day.
“NDI believes that these elections represent an important step in the country's political development. The delegation's purposes are to demonstrate interest in and support for democratic elections and to provide an accurate and impartial report on the election process. NDI does not seek to interfere in the election process and recognizes that the citizens of Yemen will ultimately determine the legitimacy of these polls.” The statement said.

Upon the conclusion of the mission, the delegation will release a report on its findings which will be made available to the public following the elections. The statement will also be available on the NDI's website at www.ndi.org.