PGC leaders insist on Saleh’s candidacy [Archives:2005/902/Front Page]

December 12 2005

Hassan al-Zaidi
SANA'A, Dec. 10)People's General Congress (PGC) leaders demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh be the PGC's candidate for Yemen's presidential elections scheduled for September 2006, as the ruling party's seventh conference draws nearer.

The PGC is due to start functions of its seventh conference next Thursday in the city of Aden after it has finished all the arrangements of the conference, sources in the PGC General Secretariat said to the Yemen Times on Saturday.

Around five thousand party leaders and members from constituencies, districts and governorates are due to take part in the conference. These personalities were nominated last month after the PGC made a radical change in its internal system, 65% of its leaders are new faces and 15% is the percentage of women's participation in the party's seventh conference.

Participants in the conference are to elect a party president, vice president, secretary general and monitoring staff, while the party permanent committee will elect the assistant secretary-generals and the party public committee members.

Although the party secretary-general confirmed that the seventh conference is not an election conference, he said when the elections draw nearer they will decide on their presidential candidate. These facts may put an end to a controversy on the nomination of President Ali Abdullah Saleh as the PGC candidate for the coming presidential elections.

No hint to President's Saleh nomination was included in the conference's agenda, but the current situation indicates adherence of PGC representatives to Saleh's candidacy. They urged him to come back on his decision not take part in 2006 presidential elections.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, PGC President has recently returned from the Islamic Summit held in Mecca to supervise the ongoing election maneuverings in the party's seventh conference in Aden.

The PGC's conference is being planned amid sharp controversy and exchanged accusations between the ruling party and the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs). The situation is growing critical following the JMPs' declaration of their project for political reforms insisting on a parliamentary regime to replace the current republican regime. The JMPs also demanded that powers of President saleh be restricted.

Dr. Abdulkarim al-Eriani, PGC Secretary General and Political Advisor to President Saleh, described the JMP's project on reforms as merely a coupe attempt against the political regime in the country. The project he said aims to end Saleh's rule and that the JMPs relate what concerns the country to the deposition of a particular person.

Dr. al-Eriani emphasized that the PGC's seventh general conference is due to approve the vision of reforms that will be included on the party's political agenda for the six years to come.

Sources, who requested to be anonymous, told the Yemen Times that the PGC leaders will write a testimony to urge President Saleh to run for president again. They said the testimony will not allow Saleh to quit, but some sources confirmed that Saleh expects to be supported by his party and the opposition parties like what happened in the last presidential elections.

In spite of declarations by prominent Yemeni figures abroad to stand in the coming presidential elections, which requires a recommendation of current MPs, the majority of whom are affiliated to the ruling party, Dr. Yasin Sa'eed Numan confirmed that there is no an exchange of roles between these personalities and the JMPs.

He said the JMPs have not yet unanimously agreed on a candidate for Yemen's presidential elections scheduled for next September, and this may requires dialogues between these parties to reach a joint viewpoint or to seek a suitable alternative.

Dr. Numan denied the accusations directed at the opposition by PGC leaders, pointing out that the JMPs' project does not target the President as alleged by the ruling party media and that their project supporting the parliamentary regime aims to rescue the State from the circle of conflict.

Dr. Yasin Numan warned of risks associated with the allocation of small enterprises to areas constituting no harm to the authorities, indicating that JMPs' project goes in favor of Yemen, but was not welcomed by the authorities who accuse the JMPs of treason.

Observers expect the controversy between the opposition parties and the ruling party over the JMP's project to get sharper, particularly after the Supreme Council for Joint Meeting Parties approved the project last week, published and distributed it to the public.