Nicholson to Sana’a University students: Yemeni elections mark Yemeni political history [Archives:2006/987/Front Page]

October 5 2006

Mohammed Al-Jabri
SANA'A, Oct. 3 ) The Yemeni elections are “a milestone in Yemen's political history,” according to Baroness Emma Nicholson, Chief Observer of European Union Election Observation Mission while praising the participation of both the opposition and ruling parties.

In a symposium held Tuesday at Sana'a University, Nicholson said the European mission is to release its final report on the elections in a few weeks. She stated the voting procedures were conducted very well in 82 percent of the polling stations the mission visited countrywide.

According to Nicholson, the European mission is unbiased and concerned only with the way the elections were conducted.

“We are not concerned with who has won the elections. We are interested in the way the elections were conducted,” she said.

“The aim of the European Union Election Observation Mission is to enhance public confidence in the electoral process, deter fraud and violations, enhance respect for human rights, contribute to resolution of conflict, know the degree of impartiality shown by the election administration, fairness of access to state resources made available for the election, and the degree of access for political parties and candidates to the state-run media,” she added.

Richard Chambers, Deputy Chief Observer, said the vote counting results of the presidential elections were announced on the legal period, but those of the local council elections haven't been announced. He said the EU mission visited 1000 electoral centers on the day of election.

“The voting process was conducted in a good way, with positive indicators to its being open and genuine,” Chambers noted.

With regard to the legal aspects, Chambers added the electoral process met the international standards, although there were shortcomings with regard to the voters roll.

According to the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum, 9,248,456 voters were registered in the polls, but the turnout was 65 percent with 6,025,818 voters participated in the September elections. There were 648,580 votes cancelled. Saleh gained a landslide victory, scoring 77 percent of the vote, while his main rival Faisal Bin Shamlan, of the Joint Meeting Parties, receiving nearly 22 percent of the total 6 million votes cast.