Yemen, the only country where an Arab Spring revolt led to a negotiated settlement, on Monday launched a UN-backed national dialogue aimed at paving the way towards a new constitution and elections. The talks are, however, being boycotted by hardline southern factions who staged a general strike and protests in the port city of Aden on Sunday against the initiative. The dialogue, scheduled to run six months, brings together 565 representatives of Yemen’s various political groups – from secessionists in the south to Zaidi rebels in the north, in addition to civil society representatives. They aim to draft a new constitution and prepare for general elections in February 2014, after a two-year transition led by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.Full Article: Oman Tribune - the edge of knowledge.
Ali Abdullah Saleh
After a year of mass demonstrations and street battles which brought the country to the brink of civil war, Yemen is preparing for presidential elections on 21 February; the sole candidate, Vice-President Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi, kicked off his campaign yesterday. While some observers argue that the election is a mere change of guard, others suggest it is the only way to save Yemen from collapse – ending President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-brokered agreement signed in November 2011. The GCC deal aimed to end a year of fighting that led to a deepening humanitarian crisis. But the election is being held under difficult circumstances. Violence remains widespread across the country and the election is being opposed by Islamist militants, some elements within the Southern Movement, and the Houthis, who were left out of the November deal.Full Article: IRIN Middle East | Analysis: Yemen election overview | Yemen | Conflict | Governance | Refugees/IDPs | Security.
A presidential election to be held on 21 February in Yemen will open the door for a new chapter in the poorest and arguably most fragile country in the Arab world, says new Prime Minister Mohammed Salim Ba-Sindwa. A successful election will pave the way for comprehensive reforms, said Ba-Sindwa, who was chosen to lead a national reconciliation government – part of a deal signed in November ending months of political turmoil. Once elected directly by people, the new president will be constitutionally empowered to re-unite the divided army and replace corrupt officials in the various government institutions, Ba-Sindwa told IRIN in an interview.Full Article: IRIN Middle East | YEMEN: Despite its flaws election gives hope | Yemen | Conflict | Governance | Security.
Yemen has begun a publicity campaign to get citizens to vote in the upcoming presidential election, officials said on Monday, part of a deal to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office and pull the country back from the brink of civil war. With Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as the only candidate in the Feb. 21 vote, there are fears of a low turnout that would dent the legitimacy of the man expected to lead Yemen during a two-year interim period when crucial decisions, dealing with restructuring the armed forms and introducing constitutional reforms, are expected to be taken. “Your vote protects Yemen,” read a giant poster hung in the capital Sanaa, depicting a smiling woman in a pink headscarf as she places her ballot into a voting box.Full Article: UPDATE 2-Election preparations start in conflict-torn Yemen | Reuters.
With Yemen’s landmark presidential election less than a month away, the U.N.’s top advisor for that country said Wednesday the political and security situation remains fragile, but that he believes the vote will take place on time. Jamal Benomar told reporters after privately briefing the U.N. Security Council on his eighth and latest mission to Yemen that there has been significant progress in the run-up to the February 21 election, but that serious political, economic and humanitarian challenges lie ahead.Full Article: UN: Yemen Faces Challenges as Presidential Election Approaches | Middle East | English.
Yemen: Foreign minister says presidential election will be held on schedule in February | The Washington Post
Yemen’s presidential elections will be held as scheduled toward the end of February, the foreign minister said on Wednesday, countering his own observation a day earlier. Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, a veteran of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime, told Al-Arabiya television on Tuesday that it would difficult to have presidential elections if the security situation is not resolved. After a series of meetings with American and U.N diplomats, al-Qirbi backtracked, saying that his government was committed to holding presidential elections on February 21. It appeared, however, that the subject was not closed.Full Article: Yemen foreign minister says presidential election will be held on schedule in February - The Washington Post.
Yemen’s presidential election, set for February, may be delayed by security concerns, the foreign minister said, raising the prospect that a U.S. and U.N.-backed plan to end months of unrest by easing the president from office may collapse. The comments – the first suggestion the vote might be held up – came after Islamist fighters seized an entire city, underscoring U.S. and Saudi fears that chaos born of political crisis may empower al Qaeda in Yemen, which sits alongside key oil and cargo shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The vote is central to the plan crafted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a bloc of Yemen’s wealthy neighbors, to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power after nearly a year of protests against his 33-year rule.Full Article: Yemen unrest may force election delay: minister | Reuters.
Yemen’s presidential elections will be held as scheduled toward the end of February, the foreign minister said on Wednesday, countering his own observation a day earlier. Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, a veteran of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime, told Al-Arabiya television on Tuesday that it would difficult to have presidential elections if the security situation is not resolved. After a series of meetings with American and U.N diplomats, al-Qirbi backtracked, saying that his government was committed to holding presidential elections on February 21. It appeared, however, that the subject was not closed.Full Article: Yemen FM Says No Delay in Presidential Election - ABC News.
Adding to fears of a worsening political crisis in Yemen, a top government official hinted at a possible delay in presidential elections set for February that would mark the formal end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule. During an interview broadcast Tuesday on Al Arabiya, Yemen’s foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, said it would be “difficult” to hold the elections on Feb. 21 as planned because security in the country was deteriorating. The elections are a condition of a power-transfer deal that Mr. Saleh signed in November, and Yemeni officials have called them a critical step toward ending the crisis. Opposition figures quickly criticized his comments, and a spokesman for Yemen’s vice president said there would be no delay, according to CNN.Full Article: Yemeni Official Suggests Delay in Presidential Vote - NYTimes.com.
As Yemen transitions towards democracy, it is organizing a presidential election with only one likely candidate: Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. And that idea is drawing wide support from opposition parties and Yemen’s diplomatic partners. For months, they have been pushing for the replacement of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who recently agreed to end his 33-year rule after months of protests against him.
Analysts say those with interests in Yemen’s future have differing motives for backing an uncompetitive democratic process. The election is scheduled for February. In the view of Yemen’s opposition coalition, known as the Joint Meeting Parties, Hadi is a neutral figure who played no role in Saleh’s violent crackdown on opposition protesters.Full Article: Yemen's Noncompetitive Presidential Election Draws Wide Support | News | English.
Yemen: Defected general accuses Saleh of fraud in presidential election, government officials deny | xinhuanet.com
The Yemeni defected general Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar on Monday accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of rigging in 2006 presidential elections, which was denied by government officials. “I accompanied Saleh in his electoral campaigns in 2006 until the results were ready to be announced,” defected Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar told a press conference at the headquarters of his military base, the First Armored Division.
“And before the declaration of the true final results, Saleh told me that the computer mistakenly counted the votes showing that the opposition candidate Faisal bin Shamlan won. But he ( Saleh) said the counting process was reviewed and declared his victory,” al-Ahmar, who defected from Saleh and joined the protest movement in March, told reporters. “So, Saleh lost his legitimacy because he changed the results of 2006 presidential election by force,” al-Ahmar said.Full Article: Yemeni defected general accuses Saleh of fraud in presidential election, gov't officials deny.