Yadoumi: “Our presidential candidate is Ali Abdullah Saleh” [Archives:1998/40/Law & Diplomacy]

October 5 1998

Mr. Mohammed Al-Yadoumy, Secretary General of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform – Islah, graduated from Police Academy in Cairo. He also has a BA in History. He started as the chief editor of Al-Sahwa weekly newspaper – Islah’s mouthpiece.
Dr. Salah Haddash, Yemen Times Managing Editor, interviewed Mr. Al-Yadoumy, on the occasion of the second general congress of the Islah which starts tomorrow, October 6th.
Q: Where does Islah stand today, in relation to the ruling authority and the opposition?
A: The Islah party is, of course, in the opposition, given the results of the April 27, 1997 elections. We accepted the results of these elections in spite of our major reservations because of the undemocratic practices exercised against Islah. There was an overpowering desire on the part of the ruling party (PGC) to achieve a ” comfortable” majority in an “uncomfortable” manner.
Q: What are the main issues in the upcoming Islah congress?
A: Truly, Islah’s second congress comes in rather difficult political, economic and social conditions for our country. However, the party is no stranger to such a situation. We held our first congress immediately after the country’s victory in preserving its unity. The situation was very strained then.
By holding our congress at this time, we are working to normalize the political life, call for coexistence, allow the wounds to heal, and strengthen national solidarity. It is all in the nation’s supreme interest. It seems to be our destiny to work on stabilizing the situation through rationality and moderation. Islah always aims to help find developmental renaissance in all aspects of life.
As for the issues to be discussed in the congress, they will mainly deal with Islah’s achievements during the last few years. We find ourselves in need to submit draft amendments to the party’s basic statute. It is hoped that such amendments will improve Islah’s future organizational performance.
The economic dimension of the party’s program will also be amended, in light of our experience – short though it was – in the two governments before the last elections. This experience has immensely helped in giving the party a more realistic outlook. We gained this outlook through our modest involvement in the country’s economic reality.
There are also a number of other important issues, of importance to everybody. On top of these concerns comes the question of economic well-being and tackling the deterioration and its reflection on the political and social situation.
Q: What is Islah’s position vis-a-vis the draft law regulating mass rallies and public demonstrations?
A: We believe that demonstrations should be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere; without rioting, anarchy, subversion or looting. But, we feel that this law intends to strangle freedom of expression and narrow the available margin of democracy.
Q: Will Islah field a candidate in the 1999 Presidential elections?
A: Our candidate is Mr. Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Q: How does Islah view the US and Western attitude towards Islamic political movements?
A: The negative relationship between the two sides has been created through the accumulation of misunderstandings – not just recently, but since a long time in the past. We are totally convinced that, by recognizing mutual interests and rising up to our great responsibility, we can all cooperate to reach a certain level of relations that will serve our peoples’ supreme interests.
Q: How do you assess the Islamic political movements in Yemen?
A: The Islamic movement in Yemen is growing, due to the margin of democracy, and its acceptance to coexist with others.
Q: How do you see the economic situation in Yemen?
A: I have to admit, economic conditions are rather difficult in Yemen today. This matter needs a specialized conference and many seminars. The local currency is deteriorating, unemployment is rising, income is declining, prices are rocketing, and poverty is everywhere. All these problems need to be urgently addressed; otherwise, many dangers will overwhelm the nation.
Q: How do you see the impact of the deteriorating economy on social conditions?
A: Increasing poverty is certainly not conducive to stability. It is detrimental to society’s values and morals. Also, the continuous deterioration in social services – if they exist at all – will increase the pressure of poverty, deepen backwardness, and greatly harm human development.
Q: What must be done, from the Islah point of view, to carry out real administrative and financial reform in Yemen?
A: We must look for solutions to our economic troubles. We should not allow our country to become a field experimenting obsolete theories.
It must be recognized by all that a lot of damage is caused by some of the people running our economy, who abuse our resources and mismanage the funds granted by others. Administrative and financial corruption has become so widespread that it is impossible to ignore it. The only way out is to work hard and be honest in carrying out reforms.
Q: How do you view the proposed local administration and administrative laws?
A: We support local authority and administrative systems that enhance national unity and social cohesion, increase decentralization and decentralize decision making.