PM Faces Stiff Resistance to Reform: Cabinet Reshuffle [Archives:1998/11/Front Page]

March 16 1998

Serious discussions regarding a major change in the government of Dr. Faraj Bin Ghanim are underway. According to Yemen Times sources, the Prime Minister wants more leverage regarding in order to push the reform program through.
Squarely facing him on the other spectrum are well-entrenched power centers, that can be broadly grouped under the banner of “traditionalists”. This collection of individuals are the ones who really call the shots in Yemen today, given their connections.

The reform program calls for corrections in the power balance as well as for correct business behavior. Corruption is a real problem in the country and the reform package seeks to address it. Hence the present showdown between the prime minister (read, the reform program) and the traditionalists.
The President is going to be the decisive factor in this square-off. The traditionalists have been able, so far, to impede speedy and full implementation of the reform package, especially those aspects which are related to business.

The Prime Minister is getting fed up with what he perceives as “lack of will” on the part of the leadership to bite the bullet. He feels he deserves stronger support from the president and the modernists who want to bring to the country the values of today’s world.
If Yemen loses this prime minister, the credibility of the whole regime in terms of its commitment to implement the reform package will be seriously undermined.
It is in light of this square off that the upcoming cabinet re-shuffle should be seen. The prime minister seeks to bring in more individuals committed to the reforms and with a world view. If it happens the way he wants it, the prospects for Yemen’s successful economic and political transformation will be much better.