The elections proceed in favor of President at the expense of democracy [Archives:2008/1213/Opinion]

December 4 2008

By: Mohammed Al-Maqaleh
Undoubtedly, conducting the fourth parliamentary elections, as scheduled on April 27, 2009 and under the current election law, will only proceed in favor of the same President of the Republic and the ruling General People's Congress (GPC), as well as other social and political forces that share interests based on allegiance with the President. This will hurt democracy, however, the interest of President Saleh and other statesmen will never be achieved as they project in the upcoming elections unless Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) participates in the process, mainly the Islah and Yemeni Socialist parties.

The upcoming elections and any political and social consequences related with them may help achieve various objectives, which the authority may not reach without elections and JMP member parties' participation in them. Objective One: the elections and their results will enhance the President's legitimacy at the popular level and his capacity to manage the country after it began to shake in the most recent presidential elections and the subsequent events and developments in the northern and southern parts of Yemen over the past two years.

Remarkably, the objective of strengthening the authority's popular legitimacy and its political speech may be reached automatically as soon as the JMP member parties get engaged in the electoral process irrespective their projected vote result in an election preceded by suspicious procedures.

Objective Two: Due to the current election system and the government's capacity to control and direct voters in its favor, the upcoming vote results will inevitably increase representation of the authority and its influential members in Parliament. In other words, GPC will win a majority of Parliament seats more than it did in the past election. And, as this will be at the expense of democracy, the multiparty system and effective of the legislature, it may hurt fair representation of the various social groups, most notably women.

Who will be the real loser?

Opposition, as practiced by JMP in general and Islah and YSP in particular, will be the big loser in the elections. It is a real loss, which the opposition parties mayn't avoid through irresponsible talk to allocate certain constituencies for opposition runners. This is not achievable, not only due to the presence of influential individuals, who are loyal with the authority in every constituency countrywide and are difficult for one to convince them abandon what they believe is a national privilege, most notably as they provide good services to the government in order to help it pass its policies in their areas and tribes.

As such non-democratic allocation of certain constituencies for the opposition candidates hurts competitive democracy, reputation of the opposition parties and the objectives, which these parties seek to achieve. This is impossible to be accepted by the opposition. The opposition will not accept to victimize its popular reputation for the sake of unachievable objective through an electoral process controlled by the ruling party and its government.

If the opposition parties accept this allocation, their participation in the upcoming elections will only lead to their elimination from politics, coupled with the fact that their reputation will be hurt, and their demands for carrying out comprehensive reforms in the nation will be labeled as unreal, are only meant to mislead people.

This is what the authority seeks to achieve through the upcoming parliamentary elections, as it wants to hit credibility of the opposition parties and persuade people to lose their confidence in it. The catastrophe will be more devastating in event the opposition parties fragment and at the same time the two main parties in the opposition coalition, Islah and YSP, decide to participate in the electoral process, thereby deceiving other small JMP member parties.

Source: Al-Sharea Weekly