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GPC Calls for Active Participation in Elections; Opposition not ready to Announce Election Boycott
  Written By:  Hasan Al-Zaidi ( YEMEN POST STAFF ) 
  Article Date:
August 25, 2008



The General People Congress's (GPC) General Committee renewed its call for all political forces to participate actively in the forthcoming parliamentary elections due to be held in April 2009, considering it to be a step forward in the field of democratic development.

Reviewing the outcomes of parliament sessions devoted for discussing the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER), the general committee stressed on the importance of proceeding in preparatory measures for forming the SCER according to the constitution and the effective laws.

Such a call comes within the frame of the intensified crisis between the political players, the ruling party (GPC) on one hand, and opposition parties represented in Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) on the other.

It also comes after JMP announced officially its rejection of the decision taken by parliament as for forming the SCER, hinting such a move aims to sideline opposition parties and force them to boycott elections later.

Last Monday, parliament witnessed a heated session after JMP failed to provide the list of its nominees for the SCER and this caused Parliament Speaker Yahya Al-Ra'ee to call on Members of Parliament, mostly GPC affiliates, to vote against the amendments and agree with the previous election law.

Informed sources told the Yemen Post that there has been constant contact between President Saleh and JMP leaders, stressing the problem is between JMP and GPC and not between JMP and Saleh.

A JMP leader pointed out that a boycotting decision will not taken in retaliation to the ruling party, after the later intensified the situation when parliament voted for the previous elections law, emphasizing it is early to speak about boycotting.

Head of GPC Media Circle Tareq Al-Shami noted that JMP is free to boycott or participate in the forthcoming elections, assuring that the door is still open.

Al-Shami added that what parliament did last week was part of its constitutional rights, assuring that there can be no more delay, especially after JMPís recent procrastination. 

Some observers speak of differences between opposition parties, particularly when the Yemen Socialist Party was insisting on not participating in the electoral process until political detente, and ensure the release of political prisoners.

Others assert that JMP did not submit their list of SCER candidates last week because there had been wide differences between GPC and JMP over the one who will chair the elections committee, especially when Islah was adhering to the post.

Despite the year-long dialogues and negotiations under sponsorship of international organizations interested in the electoral process, the political players failed to reach an agreement over the SCER formation and elections law amendments. 

Political observers see that opposition demands including the relative list, quota system, and correcting the electoral register were cancelled even after Islah Party secretary general Abdul Wahab Al-Anesi, also the key JMP negotiator, had already signed the agreement, fearing that it could harm them later on in the elections.