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Abdul Rahim Al-Showthabi (YEMEN POST)
Article Date: August 25, 2008
In a symposium entitled Critical Reading in the Constitutional Amendments, politicians criticized the constitutional amendments draft that President Saleh referred to Al-Shora Council (SC) for more consultations.
The symposium, which was organized by the Yemeni Center for Historical Studies and Strategies for the Future (Manarat), saw a number of politicians assuring that the constitutional amendments draft would bring conflict between the parliamentary legislatives and the government.
Judge Yahya Al-Maweri said that the proposed article in the constitutional draft, that gives power to the local councils to impose local fees, contradicts with article 13 of the Yemeni law. He also said that local fees would lead the government to treat locals from the different governorates unequally. He also criticized article 121, which gives power to the president to declare a state of emergency, considering it an indistinguishable article, as it doesn't indicate the state emergency's period of time. He went on commenting on article 39, which gives local councils the right to form their own security forces, considering it as a dangerous procedure to the country's stability.
Meanwhile Al-Naseri Party Member Hatim Abu Hatim described the constitutional amendments draft a sheet of paper fabricated by the government to practice the policies in wants on the people. He also criticized the article that says the person who wants to nominate himself for parliament must be able to read and write, considering it a backward step for the Yemeni parliament in the age of modern technology.
Ruling Party member Yahya Shinif stressed that leaders of political parties' are the source of fear to the country's security, stressing that Yemeni legislatives must reconsider the constitutional amendments draft.
Historically, the Yemeni constitution has been adjusted several times since 1962.
Between 1962 and 1970, the constitution was drafted five times and every draft reflected the real meaning of the conflict between the president who looked after extending his power, and others who wanted to limit his power.
Early in 1971 the constitution extended Al-Shora Council's power, as it was given the authority to elect the republican council and restrict the president's power.
After the departure of the British colonizers from the southern governorates; those governorates were no better than the northern ones. The National Front declared itself the sole political party, and executed its opponents and abolished the constitution in order to monopolize power for itself.
In 1990, and after the declaration of the United Yemen, a joint constitutional committee was formed from both sides to issue the Yemeni constitution, and in early 1991 they started to adjust some points in the constitution.In the 2001's constitutional amendments, the links between the elected parliament and Al-Shora council were not specified. This worried opposition parties as it also did not clarify the president's control over the Shora Council, which is elected by the president.