Political Parties PropagandaWishful thinking or high hopes? [Archives:2003/633/Reportage]

April 27 2003

Those who are following the propaganda proposed by various political parties competing for seats in the parliament 2003, would be able to deduce each party's strategy for winning voices and gaining support. For there are several main directions or issues that have been repeatedly stressed by those parties, reflecting the party's inclinations. Some of the headlines sound very attractive, some just sound over-used, and many sound like high hopes or perhaps just wishful thinking. Here an overview of the deduced strategies for the main parties:

General People's Congress:
The most dominant party and of course the ruling party focused on many of issues the GPC felt it as being the ruling party and more experienced with the national and international developments it has acquired throughout the years. Under the title “For Endorsing development and Democracy and Building a Modern State”, most of the party's campaigning took place. The campaigning basically could be divided into two main categories: the party's achievements represented by establishing unity, democracy, total development and future inclinations and directions.
In the first, the GPC reviews the several accomplishments that were achieved by President Ali Abdulla Saleh, leader of the party, and his international strategy and leadership that enhanced the relations between Yemen and many Arab and world nations, all in favor of Yemen's interests and benefit. Talking about democracy, the party described the current elections and the democratic spirit as an evidence of the democracy instated in the country by the ruling party. It also talks about the freedom of belief and how multi-party system exists in Yemen due to this reason. The Local Councils is another issue that has been brought up, indicating the ruling system contribution to involving the public in governance. Women have taken the lion's share in the propaganda where the party repeatedly stressed statistics that showed that percentage of working women in Yemen has increased to 22%, and it also reminded the people of the Women police force.
One of the main achievements considered in the campaigning was standardizing education, and in economy the party showed that since '97 there has been significant progress. As for government employees, the party emphasized on the many privileges they get and the many projects that help insure social safety and public heath, education, roads, and poverty alleviation. The second part which is the future was concerned with three main points: endorsing organizations' structure for the Yemeni State, where freedom and respect of others' freedoms of belief, thought and speech are emphasized. And to eliminate illiteracy and to ensure total development and continuous improvements in the country.

Islah Party:
The strongest opposition party has focused on reaching out for voters through direct communication methods. It stressed the need for change and reviewed the current deteriorating circumstances of the country, such as poverty, unemployment, low income and feeble public services.
The party was able to display statistics that confirmed its accusations of the current ruling party on the mentioned issues. Simultaneously it gave a bright picture about the changes it plans to make and how it will establish a new state and improve the society conditions. Because the RP has presented itself as an opposition party, it displayed all the shortcomings in the current system and promised to bring solutions especially regarding the economic situation. The party promised to transfer the country into a regional trade centre through utilizing the strategic location of Yemen and the Yemeni harbors. It also promised more opportunities for work. As for education, the party stressed that it is one of the highest priorities and that it will dedicate more of the country's resources in this channel. The army also gained attention in the agenda where the party promised to improve their situation and to establish national spirit among those who work in the army.
Unionist Nasserite Party:
A strong opposition party and approaches to a large extent what the RP and other opposition parties' programs grouped in the ''JMP'' (RP,YSP, NUP, BAC, HP). The NUP has focused on improving the current economic situation and to achieve balanced sustained development. It also put stress on fighting administrative corruption of the state and government, and to create an environment that encourages investment.
The Party demanded elimination of the ministry of Information and to establish an independent national body for all media activities in the country. And it also demands giving permission to various parties to express freedom of opinion through their own media. It also stressed independence of judiciary system and to build a modern state based on democracy and equality. Full application of the constitution and to implement the law and activate regulations in an unbiased manner on all people and organizations. It also requests activation of a watching and supervising role of the parliament and to prevent weapon carrying by citizens. To improve the status of the army and instate the patriotic and national spirit among them, is also a major demand included in the party's program.

Yemeni Socialist Party:
The agenda of this party did not exceed criticizing the current situation and proposing appropriate solutions. It also focused on the 1994 civil war and its consequences on all aspects of the Yemeni life. It called for a total national and democratic reform in politics, economy, society and other domains. The party called for eliminating discrimination and any kind of bias, and to remove all chains and regulations that handicap independent civil societies. Also it called for ensuring free and clean elections and to amend the current constitution so as to remove the existing problems. It encouraged transparency and creating a better environment for investment, and to encourage the private sector.
All parties talked also about international relations and how to enhance them, and many other issues.