While election violators criticized Around 1,536 candidates compete:Election countdown [Archives:2003/632/Front Page]

April 21 2003

By Mohammed Bin Sallam
& Hassan al-Zaidi
Yemen Times Staff

Sanaa)Preparations are taking place all around the country in prelude to Yemen's third parliamentary elections scheduled on April 27 with the competition of 1,536 candidates, of which only 16 are female candidates and 464 independents, according to the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER).
Even though the overall atmosphere is not as exciting as that of earlier elections because of the war on Iraq, yet the elections rhythm is expected to enhance during this week.
On the final preparations for the big elections day, Mr. Abdu al-Janadi, Chairman of the Information and Awareness sector of the SCER, stated last Wednesday that everything was going on as scheduled. However, he also noted that a large number of candidates have violated the elections law and were found in non-compliant.
“The SCER has discovered scores of infringements by parties and individual candidates and we have taken the appropriate steps to suspend those violators. We do have in record all the names of those who breached the elections law.” Mr. al-Janadi said.
Mr. al-Janadi warned that the continuity of such breaches would force the SCER to declare the names of the parties and candidates that infringed the law of elections, which will result in substantial damage to those parties.
He added that such violations are against the law, calling upon candidates to practice their electoral rights without harming others' rights so as to maintain a free and just rivalry and to achieve the intended objectives of the process.
On the other hand, the number of the monitors in the coming parliamentary elections has reached 36,000 representing various segments of the local and international community.
SCER sources said that 30,000 of the monitors represent 22 civil society organizations, while around 2,209 monitors represent a number of local parties and 64 represent international organizations and institutions.
The number of journalists demanding participating permissions from Information Center of the parliamentary elections has reached 188 whereas the number of Arab and foreign journalists has reached 65.
At the same time, a number of the main and sub-committees started last Wednesday to receive both men and women subcommittees which have reached 25,528.
The number of members of those committees has reached 76,584 distributed to all 5,611 electoral centers in all the governorates of the republic.
Preparations are in full swing to deploy around 60,000 escorts around the electoral centers and that has been approved by the SCER. They are entrusted with maintaining security in those committees as well as during the vote counting procedure following the closure of ballot boxes on April 27.

The number of candidates competing is as follows:
464 independent candidates
296 for the General Peoples Conference (GPC)
198 for Islah
109 for the Yemeni Socialist Party
65 for the Nasserite Party
62 for Attas-heeh Party
53 for the Socialist Arab Ba'ath Party
50 for the Al-Khodhr (Green) Social Party
47 for the National Democratic Front
46 for the Democratic Nasserite Party
30 for the National Socialist Arab Ba'ath Party
22 for the People Forces Union
19 for the National Social Party
16 for the Democratic Union Party
14 for the Democratic Peoples Party
14 for the Attahreer Front
13 for the al-Haq Party
11 for the al-Wahdah Party
5 for the September Party
2 for the Yemen Union Congregation

On the other hand, sources at the Joint Meeting Parties stated that the coming elections will be less violent than the pervious ones due to the commitment of the Joint Meeting Parties based on an agreement signing two weeks ago according to the National Alignment Charter.
Even though security forces are bracing for the worst in terms of possible violence during the elections, violence seems to have already started. Al-Thowra official daily said in an issue last week that a woman shot fire at a GPC female member in the main committee of constituency 19 in the Sana'a governorate.
Dr. Abduladheem, the Chairman of the Islah Executive Office denied that the incident was a result of partisan disturbances. “It is a family-related incident and has nothing to do with the coming elections,” he said.
Meanwhile, the two largest parties GPC and Islah continue as usual throwing mud at each other in the media. The Islah party has accused the official media of distorting Islah's reputation, while on the other hand al-Mithaq newspaper, the mouthpiece of the GPC went as far as naming the Assahwa newspaper, mouthpiece of Islah, as the Taliban-Yemen newspaper.