Opposition figures skeptic of the President’s announcementPresident’s son nomination will be a setback [Archives:2005/861/Front Page]

July 21 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
The lethal dose grabbed lights from the President's announcement of his abstain to run the next elections, in his famous speech of the 27th anniversary of his term in office. It was the major issue for local, Arabic and foreign media.

In his speech President Saleh requested friends and a brother not to meddle into Yemen's internal affairs. He warned that any aids should be through the government or the endorsed missions.

The reactions towards this speech varied among Yemeni politicians. Some welcomed it, while others were skeptic. Dr. Mohamed Al- Afandi, Head of the Strategic Center for Studies, said that the President was earnest in his speech when he said, 'I am tired and I'd like to rest.'

But the question remain on whether the president is going to be left alone or is there going to be pressure from those closer to him to run the presidential elections again?

The president's announcement will arouse practical constitutional debates, as the president has made achievements, and he should crown these achievements by supervising the peaceful transfer of power himself.

There is a great defiance facing the Yemeni political arena, because an opposition candidate to run the next elections is out of the question now.

It is worth mentioning that the president has asked the Yemeni political organizations, including the PGC (his ruling party) to prepare their Young contenders to run this contest. He called for the preparation of the younger generations on the concept of peaceful alternation of power.

An opposition source who prefers not to be disclosed told Yemen Times that the President mentioned in his speech the young leadership; he wonders if this is not an implicit pose to his son Ahmed, who is the commander of the republican guard. He confirmed that the nomination of the president's son will be a great embarrassment for him, a thing that will undermine his bright history.

Yemen has abundant qualified leaders to lead it. The nomination of the president's son signifies that he means to leave the power by will, to his son, and he wants to referee this inheritance while he is alive.

No one thinks that the president will accept this matter in the light of he great achievements he has done for Yemen, which will create a Yemeni Mandela of out of him.

An opposition source welcomed the president's announcement, adding that the president is aiming at exposing the opposition's inability to name a candidate that they will consensually back in the next presidential elections. He added that the opposition parties are not apt to any sort of agreement. They didn't, till now even agree on the reform project that they adopted.

The source expected that, the president's announcement is an attempt to distract opposition media from the criticism that they have lately launched against him.

On the other hand a leading figure in the Yemeni Socialist party has doubted the credibility of the president's announcement. Mr. Al-Sarary, media secretary of the socialist party, said that the president's announcement is just an early electoral campaign as a reaction for the strong press criticism in the independent newspapers. Al-Sarary expected that the president will run the next elections with a shadow contender, as that which happened in the elections of 1999. He said that the president is still monopolizing power. If he decides to leave office, he will hand it over to his son. He continued to say that after 27 years of ruling, it is now time for a change. He called for the president to arrange for a peaceful transfer of power, by preparing for free elections, paving the way for Yemen to enter a new era. Dr. Abdulla Altarab head of the European group for marketing and development has expressed skepticism of what the president said, because the president is not eligible to run any elections after this one, according to the constitution. He thinks it is an ultimatum for political powers to agree on one nominee.

A source in the opposition said the president has responded to demonstrator's demand twice before, when he announced his desire to leave office. They were driven by political parties demanding his return. The lethal dose left no room this time.