Sheikh Al-Ahmar: “I won’t nominate myself in Islah’s upcoming elections” [Archives:2007/1025/Front Page]

February 15 2007

By: Yemen Times Staff
SANA'A, Feb. 14 ) Just ahead of the Yemeni Islah Party's fourth conference on Feb. 24, Speaker of Parliament and Islah Party Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ahmar has told Saudi Arabia's Al-Ryadh newspaper that he won't nominate himself as chairman in his party's elections, a post he has assumed since the party's establishment.

Islah will discuss numerous pressing issues during the forthcoming conference, including expanding women's participation in leading party positions and bodies, such as the Shoura Council and the General Secretariat.

Further, the party will hold elections to choose new faces to assume leading positions and replace those who have been linked with Islah since it first appeared on the Yemeni political field in 1991. Changes also will include all posts in all party sectors.

In his interview with Al-Ryadh, Al-Ahmar confirmed Islah's intention to restructure itself at all levels, including leading positions. He also tackled numerous other issues at both national and regional levels.

The sheikh stressed that he knows nothing about alleged Libyan and Iranian support and involvement in the conflict escalating between Yemeni military forces and Al-Houthi followers on many fronts in Sa'ada governorate.

Al-Ahmar further asked Houthis to cease fighting, surrender to the state and behave as other Yemeni citizens, adding that they may form a political party if they wish.

As for joining the Gulf Cooperation Council, Al-Ahmar pointed out that Yemen is qualified enough to join the council, which is the wish of the Yemeni people.

Regarding the arms-bearing issue, he hinted that an arms-bearing law exists dating back to 1992; however, the Interior Ministry hasn't applied the law efficiently. Further the ministry submitted a new draft arms-bearing law, but the speaker noted that Parliament won't discuss it because the 1992 law could be amended.

Al-Ahmar also seemed optimist about Yemen's future, declaring that the nation greatly benefited from last November's London Donors Conference. However, he asked concerned Yemeni officials to boost efforts aiming to develop Yemen, maintaining that the political leadership is serious about reform at all levels.

In related news, Islah's Media Office will conduct a political symposium entitled, “A Reading for Islah's Political Experience,” at the Movenpick Hotel in Sana'a, wherein numerous aspects related to the party's progress over the past 16 years will be discussed.

Many academics, politicians and thinkers will attend to hear three different papers presented, the first of which, prepared by Sana'a University political science professor Abdullah Al-Faqih, will deal with Islah's progress throughout its history.

Mohammed Saif Abdullah will present a second paper, which will address the party's attitude toward several debatable issues, including women, terrorism and political transfer of power. Mohammed Al-Mikhlafi will present the third paper dealing with Islah's role in activating opposition performance via the Joint Meeting Parties experience.