New Government to Present its Program within 25 Days [Archives:2001/15/Law & Diplomacy]

April 9 2001

Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi
Yemen Times
The Speaker of Parliament, Sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmer said that the new cabinet of Mr. Abdulqader Ba-Jamal which took the constitutional oath on Saturday, was requested to present its program to the house of representatives within 25 days at the latest. He added that the Parliament would form a committee of different branches to study the program, and comment on it before its approval to go ahead. Mr Al-Ahmer requested the new government to prioritize the improvement of the infrastructure, living conditions, security mess, administrative reform, and the curbing of poverty and unemployment. He said that to curb corruption, bribe, favoritism, nepotism and to improve security conditions within society, needs the implementation of accountability.
Reliable sources at the power center and decision-making core speculated further changes and appointments of governors and diplomatic departments. This includes ambassadors as a follow-up to the new government formed last Wednesday. The sources revealed that these developments are a measure to translate the desires of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who insists on refreshing the leadership with new blood. The ambassadors who finished their term of office and those who have reached retirement age will be retired. The 17 ministers who lost their posts in the new government are expected to serve in the diplomatic mission or the Shura Council, which is to be formed some time this year.
The new government includes 23 new ministers, including a woman. Dr. Wahibah Far’e, a first ever female minister, will head a portfolio for human rights affairs (a new ministry). Five new ministries have been created. These are the ministries of Technical Education and Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Parliament and Shura Affairs, Human Rights, and Tourism and Environment.
The Opposition in Yemen did not respond positively to the newly formed cabinet, feeling pessimistic about what it will do. However, the government Weeklies and Dailies looked at the new government with open eyes, considering it a government for change and modernization. Al-Thawrah Daily said in its editorial that having 23 new ministers in the government was a courageous step that people have never experienced. It added that this highlights a more developed phase, and creates new history for the government al prioritization of efficiency and competence. The Daily called it “the government of change and modernization”. The 26th September Weekly named it as the government of future as it consists of new, capable and qualified young men.
The opposition Weeklies say the government has shown no signs for modernization and that the PM was at the highest core of decision- making in the outgoing government. They believe that any efforts will be crippled by deeply rooted corruption which devours the society’s resources. They even said that introducing new portfolios will be a heavy burden on the fragile economy of the country. Al-Thawri Weekly, a mouthpiece for the Yemeni Socialist Party said ” having new ministries will increase unnecessary expenses of the government and will not serve development projects”.
However, the new government should be given a chance to prove its abilities to address a lot of serious issues related mainly to the economy and the improvement of living conditions within the rank and file. It has a two-year time frame to curb many economic and social pitfalls.