The president & upcoming elections [Archives:2005/880/Opinion]
By Prof. Dr. Abdulaziz al-Tarb
President Ali Abdullah Saleh is heading for winning a third presidential term pursuant to the operative constitution in case he would run for the upcoming presidential elections in 2006. Up until now candidates have by their personal characteristic announced their intention to run the elections, except for the political parties that have not yet determined their stance towards nomination or regarding the president's statements about non-intention to nominate for the coming elections.
Preponderant wining of the president could be attributed to many reasons and considerations. The more important of those reasons is that according to the constitution the president would assume a final presidency term and the Yemenis would grant him this chance. In this regard hey have their many reasons; some of them emotional and others because there are no strong competitors for him and even with the supposition of the existence of those, preponderance goes to president Saleh who the Yemenis see in him the image of continuity and stability of their country against grave internal and external challenges. The majority of the people if Yemen consider him symbol moderateness provided that he would wage a war on corruption strongholds and translate his last tenure in the establishment of the state of happy Yemen ruled by law and order and to lay foundations of peaceful transfer of power.
It is obvious that the presidential elections would take place a year after holding the ruling party's conference and five months following the local elections. They would be election of transitional characteristic in prelude to later full-fledged competitive elections where then the Yemenis would have the opportunity to elect from among the new candidates; president Saleh, whom they have known for more than thirty-five years and lived with him in good and bad days, would not be then among them. The idea of the state and its symbol is settled and deep-rooted in the Yemeni conscience and many of us in Yemen (more than 23 million people) prefer to have president Ali Abdullah Saleh stay in power and oppose him rather than to be forced at this stage to deal with a new president who they do not know the extent of his capability of running the state affairs.
Leaders of he ruling party request the president respect the will of the people and members of the General People's Congress party I maintaining presidency of the state and running for the upcoming presidential elections and through his statements and field visits, the president confirms his intent to fight corruption and to grant the government a last chance.
We believe, rather emphasize, that the coming local councils elections would witness much competition in which the ruling party may lose much. Therefore, the president is required to effect the appropriate change that would enable his party to win and not only to compete. This would not ensue unless associated with combating corruption, reconsidering the law of wages and salaries to curb the rate of inflation and rise of prices, removing impediments of investment, founding commercial arbitration and referring files of corruption and corrupters to prosecution and court.
Thus, the battle of upcoming presidential elections appears to be decided before their beginning, otherwise they would witness many disturbances, competition, and chaos in absence of opposition parties and their programs in enlightening the people. The president's opportunity for accomplishment of political reforms and the national unity is not only out of response to partisan and non-partisan opposition but also in response to requisites of development and reform forced by social movement and the need for renewal of legal and administrative mechanisms.
I am of the view that the president should hurry in restoring the smile to the face of the citizen's face, to work for the formation of a national government able to fulfill his ambitions and oversee the upcoming elections, even though the remaining time is not quite enough. Nevertheless the citizen would feel credibility of the regime in its approach of change and reforms and fighting corruption in word and action. Thus the electoral battle would be decided for the society due to the weight the president entertains amongst the entire public who the political parties have succeeded to attract only a small proportion of them and that proportion is not much dependable on. This puts the political forces before the option of submitting realistic demands and reviving the younger generations' interest in the public's general affair instead of squandering efforts in fighting a losing war.
As for the candidates who have stepped forward and stated of their intentions to the runs the elections, they would favor, despite of the result that is known beforehand, in adding a meaning to competition to presidency. It is hopeful that other candidates would be granted an enough space and opportunity to address their masses and to arouse the issues they think they should put forward on the basis that the entire world is changing while we do not change.
First our political situations are, permanent presidency, absent accountability and superficial parliament, people that have lost their right to make their life, a lack of watching, and the government is weak and corruption has increased.
Second we have to change Yemen seriously and our practical solutions are:
– A president for two terms only, does not dominate the executive power and subject to accountability,
– Constitution restoring to the public their right and sovereignty and a strong parliament,
– remove the corrupt and send to court,
– Implementation of the principle of financial obligation,
– And a law for ministers' trial.