Saleh rescinds decision, seeks another term [Archives:2006/958/Front Page]

June 26 2006

By: Mohamed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, June 24 ) During his Saturday address before hundreds of thousands of Yemeni marchers, President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced that he'll run for another term in September's presidential race. Organized by the ruling party, the march urged Saleh to rescind his decision of last year not to stand in the election.

“As a response to your calls, I want to say that I'm with you, together on board the country's ship to sail to safe shores. You've come to this area [Al-Saba'een Square] for the sake of unity, safety and stability, as well as development,” Saleh said, addressing the marchers.

He indicated the size of the risk due to face national unity and stability if he does not renew his candidacy for another mandate. At the beginning of his address, Saleh thanked the marchers, who continued chanting his name until the end. “Several achievements have been achieved so far, thanks to your continued cooperation. Without your cooperation, nothing would have been achieved,” Saleh stated.

The president thanked the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) and its supporters for their persistent pressure upon him to rescind his declaration and stand in the elections.

“Everyone here has something to say and I am of the hope that all Yemenis, the GPC and other political forces will cooperate in the upcoming term in office. They won't let us down like other opportunistic political forces did,” the 28-year leader continued. “Talk is much and there will be many occasions for talk,” he added.

Concluding his address, Saleh refuted allegations that his candidacy won't pave the political field for other contenders, saying such words are merely lies. “Yemen overcame risks, so there's no need for fear or concern about Yemen and its unity,” he stated.

In a statement to the Yemen Times, Sultan Al-Barakani, GPC Assistant Secretary-General and head of the party's parliamentary bloc, said, “Saleh reversed his decision following a two-day dialogue with ruling party leaders.

“We were concerned about the country's future and not for President Saleh. We're about to enter a shining future on the regional level through our brothers in the Gulf and proposed projects to support Yemen's development, as well as internationally by cooperating with donors and the international coalition to fight terrorism,” Al-Barakani added.

He mentioned that political reforms are the top priority and Yemen needs such reforms to complete institutional work. “Ali Abdullah Saleh is the eligible man at this stage and for the next seven years. He has a complete project to reform various situations and establish democratic principles,” Al-Barakani noted.

Opposition reaction

“Saleh's declaration to renew his candidacy, after many observers expected that protests and demonstrations would be a pretext for Saleh to rescind his decision, was made sentimentally more than 10 months ago,” the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) stated.

In a statement distributed Sunday to various media, opposition parties expressed disappointment at Saleh's reversing his decision not to run in the upcoming elections.

“I hadn't expected what I heard Saturday from the president. This confirms that Saleh isn't serious, after he declared on July 17, 2005 not to seek another presidential term,” JMP Higher Council Chairman Mohamed Al-Raba'ee said.

Al-Raba'ee stated to Islah party mouthpiece Al-Sahwa Net, “When people used to tell me that Saleh may rescind his decision, I ruled it out. What Saleh did is evidence of the unliberated Arab mind.”