On his 27th anniversaryPresident declares ending his rule! [Archives:2005/860/Front Page]

July 18 2005

By Nadia al-Sakkaf &
Yasser Al-Mayasi
Yemen Times Staff

SANA'A, 17th July ) On the occasion of the 27th anniversary of his presidency, President Ali Abdullah Saleh delivered a speech delivered in front of ministers, government officials, ambassadors and international as well national organizations. he talked about the various stages of his rule and the obstacles as well as the achievements. he talked about how his regime tried promoting human rights, multiparty system, women's participation and he stressed on the need of true opposition. He said “opposition is not about being the enemy, it is about complementing the state, it is the other face of the country. Unfortunately it is misunderstood by many and this is not helping anyone.” He also talked about the international relations with Yemen. He said that we are a country with sovereignty and will not allow any country or power whether be it the European Union or the United States or whoever to interfere in our internal affairs. “Yemen is a poor country, if these countries want to help us they should do so through official channels or through approved NGOs” he said. He continued that Yemen has shown a role model in many aspects; “we proved ourselves when the Yemeni Unity, we proved ourselves in instating democracy and multi-political system, we proved ourselves in encouraging women and accommodating opposition. We solved our boarder issues with all our neighbors and we gained back our island Hunaish when it was attacked. When the conspiracy of summer 1994 we maintained a firm decision and maintained the Yemeni Unity and then we declared complete pardon to all those who hurt us and wanted to harm our unity. Now it is time to play a role model again and show the world that Yemen is a democratic country where peaceful passing of power is done.” On this note a number of people in the crowd signaled their objection and some even shouted that they want the president to remain in power. He then hushed the crowd gently and declared clearly that it is time for someone else to lead Yemen. He said that he has served 27 years and God only knew what he had gone through and done for Yemen. “I hope that someone else comes and continues on what I have founded. it is time for the honorable Yemeni youth to come forward and I would promote and side by any person from any party who thinks he is good enough to rule this country.”

President Ali Abdullah Saleh has opened the gate for new faces and names now by declaring his position as not running for elections again, “Thanks to all, to everyone who supported and loved Yemen. I will serve the remaining of my rule which is one year and two months at my best capacity, then I leave it to the hands of the honorable men and women of this country.” he ended his speech.

President Saleh's story in power is a story that is worth considering, especially in a country that has witnessed little stability in its previous eras.

On the 17th of July 1978, the President came to power in the Northern part of Yemen, where he marked a turning point in the Yemeni modern history.

The terms of office he spent through parliamentary elections are also one of his major achievements.

Yemen was no exception in the unstable conditions it was experiencing at that time as a result of the international cold war. The Arab region was a victim for the split between the two major powers. As for Yemen, it was divided into two parts representing the conflict between these powers. The southern part was under the domination of the Soviet Union, one of these powers that were distributing the world among them.

North Yemen was not stable. There were a lot of confrontations which were only motivated by illiteracy and absence of information.

Development started in Al-Hamdi's era but could not go for long because of the dispute on power between several parties. Development didn't have a chance to flourish.

The wisdom of the President was clear in his success in establishing a comprehensive reconciliation with all political powers at the time. This resulted in what is known as the National Pact.

Let us asses the seventies and the eighties from a neutral point of view. What was the then prevailing factor? Was it not illiteracy and the million pieces of weaponry?

The post 1978 era was not an easy one either. President Saleh was faced with a number of defiance. Yemen was divided into two North and South parts. We speak here of Yemen before unity. The Northern part was not stable. It was experiencing major problems that presented a setback for development that started for a short time in President Alhamdi's time. Development needs greater efforts in attracting international aids. There was a need for security and stability. President Saleh succeeded in that and won the confidence of the international donors.

Without Courtesy, President Saleh succeeded in resolving many complicated problems in the period of 1978-1990.

The period that followed 1990, witnessed undeniable achievements. In 1990 the Southern and Northern leadership made the Yemeni unity. The greatness of this unity was in its multi party and journalism democratic trends.

Freedom and democracy that Yemen adopted encouraged the international community to introduce developmental helps to Yemen.

The electoral experiences were unique among Middle East regimes that suffered from totalitarian governance.

President Saleh has wisely tackled the war on terror issue. Yemen has suffered the post 9/11 terror acts that undermined the investment efforts.

Today there is a consensus between both president Saleh's supporters and opposers, in that the most important achievement would be the uprooting of corruption. It distorts his image and history. Fighting the corruption and the corrupted ones will certainly make him strong and consolidate his next term in office.

Will President Saleh's next agenda be elimination of corruption? Reformists in Yemen certainly hope so.