SCER accused of bias to ruling party, Islah optimist [Archives:2003/633/Reportage]

April 27 2003

Mohammed bin Sallam
Sana'a, 26 Apr._ President Ali Abdulla Saleh on Saturday delivered a speech to a host of Yemeni and foreign journalists and observers at the headquarters of the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum in Sana'a, requesting political parties and organisations and all candidates to display transparency in election competition. The president urged them to accept loss before winning and to avoid as much as possible nervousness that leads to regrettable confrontation. President Saleh also warned against any violations or disturbance of peace. the president concluded his address by expressing his optimism that the elections would be calm, good and secure, especially with the laid strict controls preventing excesses and one hundred soldiers entrusted with keeping security at the nationwide constituencies.
The SCER had Saturday held a press conference during which the chairman of the Commission Khalid al-Shareef stressed its neutrality clarifying that it was an independent body having no tendency towards the ruling party nor to any other party. This confirmation comes in response to what he described as rumors and press campaigns by some non-governmental newspapers in that the SCER is leaning to the ruling party during the whole period following its formation till the final stages of preparations for the parliamentary elections on 27 April.
Mr al-Shareef had also reviewed the stages the Commission had passed through among which proportion of participants in administration and supervision of the election process, saying the opposition parties in general have participated
in the Commission's work as follows:
– The national council of opposition 8 percent,
-The JMP by 40 percent,
– The General People's Congress by 42 per cent,
– The SCER by 8 percent.
Mr al-Shareef added that there were 5620 constituencies supplied with 25528 ballot boxes distributed among all regions of Yemen. Working at those constituencies are 77547 men and women from all political parties and about 66848 security men. The number of candidates for the parliamentary elections topped to around 1396, 991 representing political parties and 405 independents.
Secretary-General of the Islah party Mohammed Abdulla al-Yadoumi, in a later press conference had assailed the SCER, accusing it of partiality and that it could not resist the authority pressures. He said that position made it to throw all its weight against the opposition and side with the authority, adding that the SCER excluded many candidates from elections competition to appease the authority, although all required conditions set by the SCER were met by them.
Mr al-Yadoumi also attacked the ruling party accusing it of trying to exclude other forces and deforming their electoral programs.
He said it was regrettable that the authority had on purpose deleted parts of the parties' election programs when broadcast on radio and television in order to prove that the ruling party was superior and answers the public aspirations. Mr al-Yadoumi added that the government did not allow the citizens to choose their candidates and published illusion among the simple people, by claiming that the country is clear of injustice and terrorism through using the official media and the policy of stick and carrot. He also criticized the authority of using state property to serve for election propaganda such as horses taken from the military academies.
On the other hand Mr al-Yadoumi expressed his optimism that the Islah party would win enough parliamentary seats to form the new government and in cooperation with parties of the JMP in case it could not achieve that alone. He confirmed that his party would not seek coalition with the GPC in any new government unless the GPC accepted the Islah electoral program. On avoiding nomination of women to the parliament, Mr al-Yadoumi said his party had not yet decided that matter in his party for many reasons such as the social situation that do not accept the woman to assume some position. He, nevertheless, said that the woman occupies 11 seats at the Islah Shoura Council.
On Sheikh al-Mouayad detained in Germany on charges of having links to al-Qaeda, Al-Yadoumi said they are confident of fairness of he German judiciary and he could be release soon.