New Government to be formed next week, Bajamal a strong CandidateGPC strengthens domination [Archives:2003/634/Front Page]

May 5 2003

Mohammed Al-Qadhi

Sana'a, May 3)The new parliament is expected to convene its first meeting on May 10th, according to a decree issued by President Ali Abdullah Saleh after accepting the resignation of the government last Thursday.
Mr. Abdulqader Bajamal tendered resignation of his government Thursday after announcement of the results of the parliamentary election. After the new parliament which will be run again by Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar, president Saleh will ask one of his guys to set up a new government. It is expected that the new government will be headed by Bajamal as president Saleh has shown satisfaction with his performance during the last two years. He has been also able to establish good contacts with the World Bank and the donors.
The ruling party GPC has been able to achieve great victory in these third parliamentary elections since Yemeni unification in May 1990. According to the results announced at the end of the week by the Supreme Elections Committee(SEC) in all the 301 constituencies, the GPC has captured 238 seats, the Islah got 46, Socialist 8, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, Ba'ath 2, and Independents 4 after a number of independents moved to GPC and Islah. Only one woman has been able to reach the parliament this time which is , of course, a real setback for women in Yemen who have been voters rather than candidates. The participation rate increased to over %76, a figure indicating a rise in the awareness of the people of election process.
The opposition parties have complained that the ruling party candidates have exercised a sort of piracy against their candidates and wanted to snatch some seats from them by force. The screening process stopped in some voting centers because of clashes and confrontations between supporters of candidates from the two sides. The violent acts led to more than 10 deaths and over 25 injuries in different places in Yemen. Some ballot boxes were robbed while others were burnt. Therefore, it is expected that election will be run again in some of these centers. The opposition accused the ruling party of forging election in some voting centers and threatened to withdraw from the next parliament and not to recognize results of the election, giving their seats to the ruling party whose candidates wanted to change the results of the opposition candidates in their favor.
The SEC, however, could agree with the opposition parties to sort out the problems of the constituencies where the results were suspended. Some sources in the opposition accused the Socialists of their failure in the election and their plan to denounce and refuse its results when it reached an agreement with the ruling party to release two of its suspended seats.
Despite the victory the ruling party gained all over Yemen, Islah has been able to defeat it down to the ground in the capital Sana'a, winning more than half of its constituencies, defeating some of its prominent leaders like Hussien al-Maswari and Abdulwahab al-Rawhani. Some observers said the GPC failed to nominate good candidates for such constituencies and that is why it was defeated. Others say that monitoring teams of the US National Democratic Institute(NDI) and other organizations focused on the main cities and did not go to the countryside where a lot of violations have been reported. While others believe that the military that was expected to decide the results in favor of the GPC nominees in some constituencies in Sana'a like that of 11, voted for the candidate of Islah as they do not receive the same care and attention like that given to the Republican Guard.
The NDI reported a number of violations like political intimidation, underage voting, inappropriate behavior by security forces, vote buying and obstruction by GPC the counting commissioners. In its preliminary statement, the NDI held the GPC accountable for many of these apparent flaws. However, the NDI described the election as “another significant step forward on Yemen's path toward democracy.” One of the positive aspects is the enthusiasm and determination shown by Yemeni people to exercise their right to vote and freely choose their representatives. The US congratulated the Yemeni people and government for this election and a statement issued by US Secretary of State, Colin Powell on April 30 said the election was “based on principles of universal suffrage and direct ballots. “Initial reports indicate that the election was mostly free and fair.”
Of course, the parliament has lost some good guys l like Mohammed Allaw, Yahya Abu Usba'a, Sa'ad Eddin Bin Talib and others who have been very vocal, but this one has won good ones who are expected to voice their people. But the most important question is that: Will the parliament act in the same weak way as the previous ones and be unable to take momentous decisions and hold ministries accountable?