On forthcoming parliamentary elections [Archives:2002/36/Focus]

September 2 2002

The forthcoming parliamentary elections for 2003 would be the third one of its kind in the modern history of Yemen. It was supposed that a qualitative leap would occur after such an accumulation of experience, but exaggeration of the Elections Committee in its preoccupation in the political conflict, i.e., sharing seats of the Supreme Committee of Elections and referendum as well as sharing in committees of registration, have led to an unapplauded beginning of the coming electoral process.
In the current process, the political aspect has predominated over the technical one. This development has provided for opening loopholes for negativism, especially at the stage of registration. This stage is very important and pertains to right of the eligible voter and how he can exercise this right, at a time indications have surfaced that the new electoral register could be exposed to cheating, as that has occurred before.
It is noted that beforehand accusations are charged against the ruling party, a behaviour resulting from the previous experiment. This would mean that we are working amidst an atmosphere of dubiety and advance judgments. It is a situation quite familiar in a very poor country and the level of corruption has reached t high degrees and therefore it is difficult to talk about democracy.
I can presume that elections in Yemen is a convenient decoration for the ruling regime but it would represent a burden working in favour of the opposition and future. It is a double-edged weapon.
The voting people, regardless of their illiteracy, and the opposition, despite its low performance, should work seriously for urging electors monitor registration process and educate them that this right should not be given up. On the other hand they have to comprehend their duty towards the forthcoming elections. Creditable election register is an indicator of less electoral frauds.
The now prominent balance of electoral powers is represented by the People’s General Congress party, supported by government institutions and their financial potentials, and the opposition grouping supported by certain economic and social situations. The PGC realizes that its popularity is dependent on coercion and money and also understands that the opposition is short of having intensive access to the voter and there is a very short time to go. But the opposition can offer something to the election process.
The question now is how the condition of the elections register would be and what sort of problems resulting from social monitoring and would the election process go without encountering a crisis? Yemen suffers from many difficulties, among which is the exploitation by the ruling regime of the present international circumstances as an excuse for taking negative resolutions that may affect the elections.