Opposition lashes out president, Islah apologize [Archives:2003/635/Front Page]

May 12 2003

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
The Yemeni opposition parties criticized ruthlessly last week President Ali Abdullah Saleh and held him accountable for all violations that took place during the voting and screening processes of the parliamentary election. Mr. Mohammed Qahtan, head of the political department at the Islah party said in a press conference last Monday that democracy in Yemen came as a result of a military balance between the GPC and the socialist parties after the unification. But after the breakdown of this balance due to the civil war of 1994, the margin of democracy started to shrink dramatically. He said, “we believed in the democracy of president Saleh but he proved to be not different from any other Arab leaders as he ordered the nationalization and blundering of our constituencies by force.” He addressed the president in a courageous manner by saying “you are the reason of all this trouble we are going through and democracy will not go ahead unless you do it yourself.” He pointed out that the ruling party tried to drag the opposition into violence and bloodshed but the opposition, as he said, could escape this trap and making concessions to avoid violence. He pledged that the regime will be brought down through more democracy and hard work on their part. However, it seems that Qahtan was subjected to harassment for his strong criticism of the president. In a press statement distributed Thursday, Qahtan apologized to the president. “As I believe that the president of the Republic has a big heart as he is the father of all Yemeni people, I would like to apologize to him for my statement which could be understood as offensive to his Excellency. I hope that he would accept my apology,” the statement said. Mr. Abdulghani Abdulakader, head of the political department at the socialist party said that the violations have made the regime lose its legitimacy.
This apology was yet followed by another formal apology from the Islah party as a whole. The party held an extraordinary meeting last Friday and apologized to Saleh for the offensive of Qahtan. Islah said that the leadership apologizes in the name of all its members to President Saleh on the offensive made by Qahtan. Islah emphasized that they enjoy good and deep-rooted relations with Saleh, who remains a leader of all people of Yemen.
On his part, Dr. Abdullah Dahan of the Nasserite party said the fight was not between the candidates of the opposition and the ruling party; rather it was a fight with the state with all its power and potentials. The opposition pledged to count all violations and put them into question before court. Over 50 contests were presented to court by these parties, including the GPC. They pointed out that they could win some constituencies where there were some international monitors like the capital. They said that the oppositions let the door open for all stands to be taken with regards to the election violations. But they seemed to have different views; while Islah was pushing for withdrawal from the parliament and giving their seats to the GPC as an expression of not recognizing the legitimacy and fairness of this election, the socialist is against such a stand and believes that the opposition should go to the parliament and voice themselves there. The press conference was attended by some candidates of the opposition who said they won but they were robbed of their constituencies by force. Among those was Yahia Mansur Abu Usbaa who said he won and that some military guys stolen some polling boxes and ran away. The election committee decided to run election again in one center of his constituency No.86.
The election committee could announce the results of the suspended constituencies except for two; 86 and 272.