Yemen’s democratic change [Archives:2006/983/Opinion]

September 21 2006

The population in Yemen stands around 20 million and half of the citizens should be eligible to vote. The remainder of the population are under the age of 18 years and cannot yet practice their democratic tasks.

Going back to the last voter records from 2003, the most recent parliamentary elections, there were over 8 million people registered – around 85 percent of those who could vote. The important thing is that the proportion of those registered to vote reaches 85 to 90 percent.

That will surely mean Yemeni citizens are entertaining big responsibility and no longer taking expressing negative attitudes toward democratic activities. Since 2003 woman are effective figures competing with that of man at the polls and registering to vote. This means the electoral and democratic consciousness of woman is close to equaling man's consciousness. It also indicates that woman will not squandering their democratic rights and will practice those rights. Women are keen in all electoral activities: local, parliamentary and presidential. Women compete with men for nominations and aspire for being member in local councils and parliament and they have been put forth as presidential candidates.

In the united Yemen we feel democracy is the backbone of political action within parliamentary, legislative and executive powers as well as the judicial system. This choice is a firm decision from which there is no retreat as it's the higher form of reform, unity and democracy and a very important and delicate stage en route to a guaranteed embodiment of the democratic and pluralist forum.

In this regard we are not talking about the distance Yemen has traveled in its democratic course because there is still a long journey ahead. On the road it's the parliamentary, presidential and local elections that can uproot corruption and purge our system of the corrupt. It's one of the first steps in the democratic course.

Ismail Al-Ghabri is a Yemeni journalist, working in Yemen Times for almost 14 years.