Opposition nominates Bin Shamlan for president [Archives:2006/960/Front Page]

July 3 2006

Mohamed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, July 2 ) Under the slogan “President for the sake of Yemen, not Yemen for the sake of President,” the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) named former MP Faisal Bin Othman Bin Shamlan their candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. Bin Shamlan is an independent politician and has no political affiliation.

“I expected the opposition presidential candidate to be one of the JMP leaders who are competent and more eligible than me, Bin Shamlan said, addressing hundreds of people at the Sheraton Hotel.

“As the JMP insisted on my nomination, hard work and total commitment have become a must.”

The JMP candidate hoped that opposition and all Yemeni people have good thoughts about him, pointing out that he appreciates the JMP, which gives a constructive lesson to other parties.

“The JMP is a paved road leading to the best of changes and forming a civil democratic governance to help the Yemeni people live in peace and security,” the candidate stated. He praised the JMP and its comprehensive political reform project, affirming that only peaceful struggle will be accepted.

The JMP released a statement announcing their presidential candidate and political program that stated, “Based on the nomination by the JMP's Shoura Council and central committees, as well as confidence of Yemenis to exercise their electoral right for tackling their issues, the JMP declares Faisal Bin Shamlan its candidate for the upcoming presidential race.”

Opposition parties emphasized they will back their candidate and prepare a strong electoral campaign to win the support of a majority of voters. They trust Bin Shamlan because he is politically and administratively competent.

The statement, read out by Ali Al-Sarari, a JMP leader, added that “As all opportunities made available to Yemen were lost, the country [had] to suffer [from] poverty, backwardness, poor living standards, epidemics, illiteracy, and corruption.

“The situation goes from bad to worse due to poor education, health and electricity services, unemployment, restricted freedoms, and increased assaults on the freedom of expression, journalists and opinion writers, coupled with preventing civil society organizations from playing a tangible role to defend citizens' rights and promote equality.”

The country fell victim to the absence of law and order, the inability of authorities to carry out their responsibilities, disrespect for the independence of the judiciary, the exploitation of the public treasury, cronyism when allotting government posts, absence of political plurality, and the creation of impediments to democratic transformation reads the statement.

These issues, the statement continues, caused violations and deprived citizens of having a state of order, law, and equity; which is why the wheels of development have gone in reverse.

“The JMP is heading toward a shining future thanks to their comprehensive political reform program, crowned with the nomination of an eligible candidate [Bin Shamlan for president]. This proves that Yemen is rich with leading figures qualified enough to build the country and help it attain a prestigious status among other nations,” the statement says.

The statement makes the argument that democratic directives in Yemen have faced obstruction with the intention of mutilated them into mere slogans lacking content. Perceiving such extreme difficulties, barriers, and challenges, the JMP insists on pushing forward the wheels of the democratic transformation to help restore content to democracy in Yemen.

The JMP listed their demands to ensure that the presidential elections are administered in compliance with the international standards and it welcomed the international monitoring of the polls.

Concluding their statement, the opposition parties said that “Approaching the presidential polls, the JMP bets on the awareness of Yemeni voters, and the competence and loyalty of its leaders to tackle their country's issues.”

The JMP is planning to gather voters throughout the country to persuade them that the best choice for Yemen is the JMP as the election of JMP candidates will help rescue the country from illiteracy, unemployment, and corruption.

Yemen's presidential elections are planned to take place this September. Meanwhile, leaders of the JMP nominated Faisal Bin Shamlan as their candidate during a meeting last Thursday in Sana'a. The JMP consists of five parties; the most important of them are Islah, the Yemeni Socialist Partym and the Nasserite Unionist party.

Well-informed sources reported that Islah is the primary party supporting the candidacy of Bin Shamlan in the upcoming election.

Faisal Bin Shamlan was born in the Hadramawt and assumed several high posts in Qahtan Al-Sha'abi's Government before Yemen's Reunification. He worked as a manager of the General Corporation for Electricity and Power.

Following the declaration of Yemen's Reunification in May 1990, Bin Shamlan was appointed a member of Parliament. After the 1994 Civil War, President Ali Abdullah Saleh appointed him Minister for Oil and Minerals succeeding Saleh Bin Hesseinun who was killed in the war.

Throughout his posts, Bin Shamlan has maintained no party affiliation, even during rule of the Yemeni Socialist Party in the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. He resigned his post as the Minister so as to be elected to Parliament, but tendered his resignation in protest against Parliament's decision to extend its term to six years instead of four.

The ruling General People Congress named President Saleh its candidate for the upcoming elections last Saturday. Parliament will begin to receive documents for candidates who have been nominated starting Tuesday. Any presidential candidate must win at least 5 percent of votes in Parliament and the Shoura Council where 20 percent of members have opposition party affiliations.