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.
Bin Shamlan, who succumbed to head tumor on Jan. 2, 2010, was chosen by the opposition coalition the Joint Meeting Parties to compete with Saleh in the 2006 presidential elections. He won 22 percent of the votes, while Saleh won 77 percent, according to the state-run Saba news agency.
However, Tariq al-Shami, head of Saba and information director of the ruling party, said what Ali Mohsen said was untrue. “What Ali Mohsen said was an attempt to divert the attention from sabotage, road closures and kidnapping journalists and civilians into falsehoods,” he said.
Another ruling party official also told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that “the 2006 presidential elections were carried out under the international supervision by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union, and what the defected general claimed was baseless.”