Press Review [Archives:2001/09/Press Review]

February 26 2001

Almost all Yemeni newspapers this week have published special issues dealing in detail with the event of the hour in Yemeni political life, represented by local council elections and the referendum on the constitutional amendments. News, news reports and writings, all have focused on the elections and the referendum process that took place on the 20th of this month, reporting and analyzing both activities. Special emphasis has been put on the heated competition between the PGC party on the one hand and Islah and other opposition parties on the other.
In this week’s edition of press scanner we will be focusing on reviewing the various points of view and impressions expressed by writers and analysts, representing the political spectrum in Yemen as published in Yemeni newspapers this week.
Excerpts from articles and editorials published by the Yemeni press this week, all of which have focused on the local council elections and the referendum on the constitutional amendments.
As-Sahwa weekly of February 22, 200.
The political editor at the paper wrote an article saying that the extremist information campaign of the PGC ruling party, which began even before the election campaign, was the first factor that enkindled the demagogic fomentation against the national parties, particularly the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (Islah).
That stance has constituted a justification for terrorist elements from the PGC to start settling old accounts against Islah and the rest of the opposition parties. It has also increased tension in the political situation and converted the elections into an arena for bloody conflict among the sons of the same homeland. Some constituencies in a number of governorates have seen acts of violence and instigation of riot committed by extremist elements from the PGC resulting in the death of many people including candidates, ordinary citizens and soldiers. That conduct can be attributed to the PGC’s feeling of imminent failure. They therefore resorted to the policy of ”kindling fires” in the constituencies where Islah had scored unmatched success. After that the PGC began fabricating lies and accusations against the Islah to present it before public opinion as responsible for their own crimes and violations and to appear as being the victims.
The policy of ”kindling fires and fomenting sedition”, and involving the army and security forces in partisan differences will not serve the democratic experiment. The results of this policy will not benefit any political party, including the ruling party itself. The country would then remain governed by fabricated crises that harm the homeland and its stability and security.
26 September weekly, organ of the Yemeni Armed Forces, Feb. 22, 2001.
The weekly has this week devoted its editorial to the local council elections and referendum on constitutional amendments that took place on February 20 this month. The weekly says that the people have chosen to support democracy and express their free will through ballot boxes, away from any guardianship and with full transparency. All have acknowledged this fact except for a small group of those who feel incapable and lack the confidence of the people because of their wrong behavior and stagnant orientation and affiliation to the old school.
There is no doubt about the importance of the referendum on the constitutional amendments and elections of the local councils. The event constitutes a qualitative renewable transfer of the democratic experiment and political democratic life in general.
It has become an undeniable fact that February 20, 2001 will always represent a luminous spot on the road of national gains. On that day the people’s will has been embodied and stabilized. It is an expression of a better future with better prosperity.
RAY weekly, organ of Sons of Yemen League party, Feb. 20, 2001.
Ali Al-Kathiri wrote an article on the local elections and referendum on the constitutional amendments saying undoubtedly that the advocates of comprehensive national reform are requested to be at the head of those going to constituencies and ballot boxes to choose their representatives in the local councils and express their opinion on the constitutional amendments. To tarry in exercising this constitutional right would lead only to confirm the tense reality and miss an opportunity that could be a step towards the realization of national change and reform.
Despite all the criticisms against the constitutional amendments and the local authority law, as well as procedures and controls of the election process, this should not reduce people’s keenness for participating in the referendum and elections in a manner pushing towards national aspirations.
It is the duty of all eligible citizens having the right to vote to go to constituencies with a sense of responsibility and seriousness, to chose those in whom they have confidence in their efficiency and loyalty to issues of their homeland and the nation. The voters should keep away from material temptations and flamboyant slogans and promises.
Ath-Thawra daily of Feb. 25, 2001.
Publishing the partial results of the local elections and referendum on the constitutional amendments, Ath-Thawra daily said in its editorial that elections were the basis of democracy as they are based on honest competition and seeking decision from the masses, who have the right to place their confidence in those whom they believe express their hopes and aspirations.
Democracy in Yemen has managed to pass through certain important radical changes on the way to establishing its contents in practice. The first was the parliamentary elections in 1993, the second was the parliamentary elections in 1997, and before the end of the 20th century the people exercised for the first time in their history presidential elections by free and direct ballot. That has constituted a qualitative addition to their democratic march by which the state can complete its institutional construction on the basis of democracy, political pluralism, peaceful transfer of power, respect of human rights, freedom of press and expansion of the people’s participation in decision-making and active share in accelerating rates of development at all levels.
The people of Yemen have embodied that new change on the 20th of February 2001 through their interaction and enthusiasm to practice their political and legal rights in the process of the referendum on the constitutional amendments and elections of the local councils, in a manner completely contrary to what some were thinking.   Al-Isboua weekly of Feb. 22, 2001.
Hassan al-Udaini has published an article on the elections and referendum saying that though the article was written before the appearance of the results, preliminary information indicated strong competition between the PGC and Islah parties. This has many results. 
The first result is that voting on amendments would be positive because the two parties competing for local elections agree completely on the content of the constitutional amendments, though some hard-liners from the Islah may vote against in response to a call by Sheikh Abdulmajeed al-Zindani, and also due to the effect of sensitivities and difference of interests that have shaken the alliance of both parties.    The second result is that the asset of the two opposition parties has been disclosed to be on the debit side with regard to gains and losses.
The third result is that the Islah party would preoccupy in future, many of those interested in Yemeni political affairs. The inaudible interactions going on within the party are beginning to be audible outside and it is expected that following the elections they will become louder.