PE participation 16% Increase [Archives:2003/635/Local News]

May 12 2003

Hassan Al-Zaidi
Recommendations adopted at a press conference held by the General Center for Research, Studies and Publications in Sana'a last Tuesday, stated that the monitoring and supervision law represents a step towards democracy and development in Yemen. The research center is chaired by Mr. Ahmed Al-Sharabi, who is supported by the GPC.
The conference also advised the supreme committee for elections to restudy the electoral divisions and to activate the constitution article no 63 which states that the
country should be divided into equal districts according to population with +/-5% allowed margin.
The conference also demanded restudying the rules regarding independent candidates so that affiliation to a political party does not become a necessity for a candidate's nomination. Also to prevent affiliation to a political party for a Member of Parliament who displays himself as independent as this is a misleading aspect to the public.
A report produced by the center indicated an increase in the number of political parties participating in the elections as 21 parties participated this year whereas 12 parties only participated in 97. The report also indicated that the number of political participation reached (8,097,162 voters) compared to 1997 election where the number of voters have reached (4,731,875 voters, .e. 90%.
Participation in election percentage increased from 60.9% in 1997 to 76 % in 2003.
In reply to a question by the Yemen Times as to the participation of under-aged in the elections, Mr. Abdu Al-Janadi head of the awareness sector at the committee said: “It is an annoying aspect, which some newspapers publish about. The blame falls on the opposition parties because the GPC suggested canceling the votes of those people, but they refused. Yet this aspect is only present in the remote governorates.” He also said that the elections and all the procedures were quite honest and clean. And he said that had these elections were not so, then people of high ranks in the government would not have lost against others.
Worth mentioning is that the NDI which was the international body supervising the elections produced a comprehensive report which reported a number of violations caused by the GPC, and that the Supreme Committee of Elections is responsible for the delay in the results. The report also stated that although there were 35 thousand local supervisors but the fact that violations took place like under-age voters is still there. Many other democracy related organizations did not produce their reports yet, some of which are affiliated to certain political parties and some are neutral organizations.