Will the President Come on the Side of the Future? Yemen Searches for a New Prime Minister [Archives:1998/18/Front Page]

May 4 1998

Last week, one more chapter in Yemen’s volatile politics was closed. The resignation of the government of Dr. Faraj Bin Ghanim was accepted by President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The search for a new team is on.
What is all this about?
There is a serious squaring off between the good guys and the bad guys. Unfortunately Yemen is paying the price.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh is definitely a highly capable man. He understands Yemenis and Yemen and he handles them well. That has allowed for some sort of ‘stability’ in the country. But it has not been enough to create a prosperous Yemen. To create a better future, the president needs to enlist the services of capable, clean and strong Yemenis.
Dr. Bin Ghanim represented a chance for Yemen. It is really doubtful whether the President can find a better prime minister. Now, Dr. Bin Ghanim is out. The man has lost very little. Actually, his prestige and popularity among the public has hit an all-time high. But it is the country that has lost a lot.
Indignant frustration among the people is visible all around. Yet, public opinion in Yemen is unimportant. The leaders of this country are more concerned with the unsatiable demands of powerful individuals and groups. That explains why the president follows a careful balancing act between the past and future. At the end, this approach is a recipe for disaster.
The options now open to the president in forming the new government are clear. He needs to open up and take in new blood, which the country badly needs. He needs to come out in favor of the future.
The new government offers an opportunity for the president. He can use it to slowly move the balance in the right direction – towards a brighter future for the nation. Will he do it? Many people are counting on the man’s wisdom and his ability to maneuver.