Statement of Najeeb Qahtan Al-Shaabi’ in the Performance of the Supreme Election Commission [Archives:1999/33/Reportage]

August 16 1999

The Constitution of the Republic of Yemen and the General Elections Law state that the Supreme Elections Commission (SEC) is responsible for administrating the elections and organizing the election campaigns for the candidates in a just an equal manner. The commission’s duty is to provide the equal opportunity and to guarantee and secure an even and fair campaign and prevent any kind of violation in the campaign itself, or in the voting or vote counting procedures.
Since Najeeb Qahtan Al-Shaabi was given the parliament’s approval to run for the presidential elections, which are supposed to be held next month, we have been in continuous contact with the commission to get detailed information essential for the candidate. But unfortunately, now that more than 3 weeks have passed after the approval, and in spite of the rapidly approaching elections day, we are yet to get the information.
The SEC has issued its presidential elections campaign guide, which the commission itself has violated by issuing conflicting instructions. Recently, the commission’s chairman gave a statement, which clearly contradicts previous decisions and also contradicts the General Elections Law. We clarify these contradictions in the following:
1-The text of the election campaign guide’s 22nd article states that the campaign should start 27 days before the day of the elections.
2-We were shocked at the commission’s decision to change the starting day of the campaign to 14 days before the day of the elections.
3-We were then again surprised at the statement of the chairman of the commission in 26 September Newspaper issued on the 12th of August. In his statements, he said that the election campaign would start after 10 days! Which means having it earlier than previous dates. This despite the fact that election guide’s articles no. 43 to 46 demand that all our campaign pictures and slogans, etc. be submitted to the commission for evaluation 5 days before the start of the day of the campaign for review by the commission. Also, article no. 25 forces us to submit our program, which specifies the places and dates of our public campaign presentations in Sanaa plus capitals of the other provinces 7 days before the start of the campaign. Hence, the statement of the commission’s chairman of advancing the date of the campaign make it impossible for us to do all what is required from us in regards to our preparation for the elections. Besides, it is unconceivable that we start our campaigns before the Parliament -which is in its annual vacation until the end of August- ends its election proceedings that are not yet complete.
4-The statement of the SEC’s chairman also included, “The vote counting procedures will be implemented in the election centers themselves. ” This in itself is considered a clear violation of the General Elections Law, which states that the vote count should take place in the main center of every voting constituency and not in all centers. 
All this, in addition to not providing us with data and information, has placed another direct obstacle in our way towards preparing for our election campaign. The above points give the impression that the SEC does not have a plan or clear vision in administrating the presidential elections and what is related to it of campaigns and other preparations. This is another direct obstacle placed in our way towards having our presidential elections campaign.
The coming first presidential elections in the history of Yemen is supposed to be a great step towards strengthening and deepening the democratic process in our country, which requires more seriousness in handling the responsibility by all concerned. On the top of the list comes the SEC whose constitutional responsibility lies in administrating the elections and organizing its campaigns.
We are announcing to the Yemeni voter that this disorganization, chaos, carelessness and non-abidance by the basic principles of election administration will have a negative effect on our campaign. Hence, this will defeat the principles of equality and fairness between the candidates especially that Mr. Najeeb Qahtan Al-Shaabi is the only contender against the president of Yemen in the elections.
With this statement, we wanted to clarify to the general public’s opinion in the hope of obtaining a response leading to the elevation of the level of awareness, responsibility and attention in tandem with this historical event that our country will experience.
The Preparatory Commission for the Presidential Candidate
Najeeb Qahtan Al-Shaabi
Dr. Saadaldeen Bin Talib for the committee
Date: 15 August 1999