Socialist Party General Secretary, Ali Saleh Obad Moqbil to Al-Jazira Sattelite Channel:  “Elections have already ended,  what we are living is just a referendum..” … “..we should not be addicted to the past, but rather to the future..” [Archives:1999/36/Law & Diplomacy]

September 6 1999

Al-Jazeera TV interviewed Mr. Ali Saleh Obad Moqbil, the Secretary General Yemeni Socialist Party last Wednesday in its program “Without Limits”. Mr. Moqbil was asked about the real reasons behind the decision of Parliament not to endorse him as a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. And who was behind that decision. About accusations that he himself was the reason due to his position towards Parliament and the accusations he reiterated against Parliament and MPs. Whether it is logical to seek endorsement from a body that he has always considered it illegal or unconstitutional. He was also asked about whether there had been a secret agreement between his Party and the Islah to provide him with the necessary number of votes to enable him to run. The argument that had the Yemeni Socialist Party participated in the 1997 elections it might relieved Mr. Moqbil from seeking Islah and PGC votes for endorsement in Parliament. Mr. Moqbil was asked to elaborate on whether his party was offered 35 seats in 1997 elections and the reasons for rejecting this offer. A good part of the program went about the YSP and Mr. Moqbil’s own past and policies since independence. 
Here are excerpts from Mr. Moqbil’s interview: 
“The decision taken by Parliament against me was not taken by Parliament itself. It was a political decision taken by the PGC and the Islah parties a long time before the discussion was brought to Parliament.” He said: Whether a person recognizes the legitimacy of Parliament or not is not one of conditions for qualification for endorsement…By going to Parliament and forwarding my papers I proved that I deal with the status queue” He added that he has all the constitutional preconditions to be endorsed for the Presidential elections. He said that all positions taken by him towards Parliament were within the limits of the constitution and operative laws. He said that what his position is against is a political entity of which Parliament is only a by-product. Moqbil denied that he called the MPs as “sheep”. He reiterated his party’s position towards the 1997 parliamentary elections, and said that they had a number of fair reasons to boycott those elections. He said that the YSP had demanded a dialogue with the ruling parties to straighten those points six months prior to those elections. He said that the YSP seeked and still seeks a fair political game for all parties with equal rights and obligations. 
Mr. Moqbil denied that there was a secret agreement between his party and the Islah to provide him with enough votes necessary for endorsement. He said: If there is a secret agreement it is between the Islah and the PGC. 
Moqbil said that during a gathering the President threatened the leaders of the opposition parties that if any party boycotts the elections it shall be erased from the political scene. He said that in that gathering; the YSP position was that it is a legitimate and constitutional right for any party to join the election process or to boycott it, and that the President does not have the right to issue such threats. He reminded that the Prime Minister himself had repeatedly confirmed that it is a constitutional duty to give the Socialist Party the votes it needs [ for participating in the Presidential elections.] He said that the regime is not refusing Moqbil only; it is refusing to deal of a multiparty political and partisan system in Yemen. That the ruling is organizing some kind of peaceful exchange of power within itself. That Mr. Najeeb Al-Sha’abi is a member of the PGC and was one of those who gave his vote for the President during the PGC 6th General Conference. He added that the PGC is in fact nullifying the process of multiparty and multi-political system in Yemen, and that they consider the election process concluded and that what is going on is only a referendum. 
He said that he is not calling the people to boycott the election, but he calls upon them to gather to reject the elections as the elections are being transformed into a mockery. He said if he himself, as a General Secretary of a legal party, was denied his right to run for elections, how can any body believe that people like [former Secretary General and President] Ali Nasser or Yassin Saeed Noa’man [former Speaker of Parliament] run for elections? All this when the former can only visit the country as a guest while the other was chased by bombardments till he fled outside the country.