Opposition threats to resort to public protest [Archives:2006/938/Front Page]

April 17 2006

SANA'A, April 15 ) The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), held the first meeting of their governorates' representatives at the Socialist Party (YSP) headquarters on Thursday, April 13. In the opening session ceremony, a number of opposition leaders emphasized the meeting represents a unification of efforts. They also assured that this meeting came as an imperative action following a series of events that urged to further closer relations. However, the meetings scheduled to take place in governorates will show the growing awareness of these forces, in the political arena.

The leadership of the JMP asserted that the main aim of the meeting was to discuss matters concerning many issues, especially those related to the elections, and insistence on the performance of free impartial elections. Yet they seek a field activation of the JMP agenda, together with implementation of the political reform program that the opposition had submitted last month. Mr. Mohamed Qahtan, the spokesman for the JMP, said the meeting is being held in difficult circumstances experienced by the Yemeni people, because of the corruptive and wrong practices of the authorities. Moreover, Mr. Qahtan accused the SCER of refusing the opposition's demands for securing free elections procedures, adding that the refusal reveals a dictatorial practice of power. The SCER's rejection unmasks the cover behind which it is hiding in order to attract donors' care. He also accused the authority of corruption, oppression and confiscation liberties, granted by the constitution, topped by the right to live and peaceful expression. He added that it is the duty of the JMP parties in the next period to hold public political debates to promote the opposition's reform demands. Mr. Qahtan assured that it is likely that the opposition will resort to taking to the streets, for protests and sits- in to express their right to demanding reformation of the present failures, among them the defects in the SECR. He pointed out to the efforts exerted to reform the election list through legal methods. A project of the assignments and duties of the opposition parties' program for the next period was revealed in the meeting. It focused on political demands that the opposition presented for executing political and national reforms. However, carrying out these reform programs requires a number of political activities including many functions that will promote awareness about contents of the opposition parties' programs.

They are to mobilize public opinion that backs the opposition programs. They are also to maintain efforts in order to expose electoral violations. The project also contained encouragement of voluntary observation of the registration process, and coordination of efforts to defend the citizens' rights and liberties.

The opposition parties had last month presented a program for political reforms and setting right of the elections' course. However, the government ignored it. Moreover, the SCER refused the parties' participation in the formation of their committees, which check voters' lists. The SCER replaced the parties' representatives by job seekers' lists of the Civil service. The opposition believes that the SCER has become a committee affiliate of the ruling party, rather than an impartial body. The opposition demands that the leadership and members of the committee should be changed to guarantee just and free elections.

Opposition believes that the JMP reforms project is a result of a long earnest dialogue among its parties. It came out as a joint vision to save the country from the verge of collapse, as reform became a national option for the Yemeni people. They denounced, in this respect, the irresponsible and hysterical behavior of the authorities and the ruling party in dealing with the reforms program. However, they insisted on passing it over to the public for discussion and explanation for the community, civil society organizations, and political parties. All concerned parties should be involved in order to enrich this program with their ideas to create national reform out of it.

The participants in the meeting praised the responsible tackling of the declared vision of the JMP when they discussed the preparation for free fair elections. It had reflected the public's hope for more developed presidential and local elections, reflecting public hope for improving their living standards.

The meeting decided to send an urgent message about violations and their consequential threats. They highlighted their legal consequences that will undermine the next elections authenticity. They addressed the message to the President because he is responsible for implementation of the constitution and the law.

The Participants held the ruling party and the SECR responsible for the illegal results of the next elections and the results that will follow.

The participants called for exposition of the flaws and violations to the public, national and international observers and civil society organizations. It is to arouse a public rejection of the counterfeit that is arranged prior to the elections. It is also to create awareness of the violations in the voters' lists, after they were put into the hands of an illegal administration. The participants asked the Supreme Judicial Council to refute those legal and constitutional violations and demonstrate them to the people, civil societies, and democracy and election supportive bodies, in addition to organizations interested in election observation. They are to be enlightened with the abuse practiced against law and constitution.

The participants denounced the efforts for amending the constitution, including the recent one that the government had indecently tabled to the parliament. It ignored and excluded the political parties, civil society organizations and the people who are mainly concerned with the constitution. They spoke of the serious trends to annex the elected legislative bodies to the executive authorities. The participants confirmed the importance of cooperation of different forces to expose these undemocratic amendments and to enforce respect of the democratic principles and prevent their being violated. This should be through available peaceful procedures.

The participants also denounced the arbitrary suppressive measures taken against teachers who were practicing their legal rights. They hailed the teachers' struggle for their rights and called on authorities to live to their commitments and to be just to them. They also called for stopping oppressive procedures against them.

They also denounced violations to which journalists were subjected, hailing the journalists' struggle and resistance to undermining their syndicate unity.

The participants have denounced the recent developments that targeted social security and stability. It was the official media's campaign, which instigated hatred against leaders and parties of the JMP. The meeting denounced the detonation in the Socialist Party's premises. It held authorities responsible for the safety of the leaders and buildings of the opposition.