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Ramadan Events and Political Conflicts of Parties
  Written By:  Hasan Al-Zaidi ( YEMEN POST STAFF ) 
  Article Date:
September 29, 2008



Yemeni political parties regularly conduct activities known as night events or "Ramadan Events" and these events were made in the past by state as there were no political forces present in the political field. These activities were, then, sponsored by the president and  were occasions for people of different classes and doctrines to meet.

There have been incomparable activities by the political forces this year, particularly when the differences among the key political players, the ruling party represented in the General People Congress (GPC) and the chief opposition coalition represented in the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), have aggravated.

Such differences have been reflected in the night events conducted by political parties where each side is trying to convince the participants (mostly their follower) their stances of the different political issues.

However, the ruling and opposition parties focus their presence and night events in Southern provinces. These activities are made in preparation for the forthcoming elections, especially when GPC formed the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) without the participation of JMP and further dropped the amendments made to elections law.

Such night events reflect the extent of conflict between GPC and JMP nowadays and the latter wages a large media campaign against the lonely step followed by the ruling party and signal their boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections as the last option. 

Yemeni government represented by Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Mujawar launched the first night event in Shabwa province, his homeland, where he harshly attacked the opposition parties and their leaders and tried his best to refute the different accusations of these parties.

Field visits by other senior GPC officials like Vice-president, Parliament Speaker and other ministers were paid to different Southern, Eastern and Northern provinces. These officials devoted their visits and night events to explicate their party's stances of elections issue and the current differences between their party and JMP. They also present what they call President Saleh's electoral platform. 

When officials see these visits and night events to be a reflection of close linkages between state officials and citizens, observers believe that such visits and activities are made in early preparations for 2009 parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, the government describes these visits to be partly attempts to know closely the situation of citizens in their provinces together with urging them for hardworking, solidarity and other positive concepts. It also seeks to discuss people's concerns and needs.

Ramadan is considered the best time for such events because majority of locals in rural areas return to their areas at this season. This month is devoted for piety and worship and people collect money around the year so that they can relax in Ramadan.

Attacking the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a has made the government officials slightly changed their address during the night events, though it had not been present that much before.

The officials' former addresses were just giving attention to elections and President Saleh's electoral program and little or no attention was given to terrorist threats or terrorism; however, terrorism now takes more space during the lectures and talks.

Similarly, military leaderships took on an unprecedented activity following U.S. Embassy’s attacks. Commander  of Special Forces Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, President Saleh's son, is inviting Republican Guards Forces' leaders for fast-breaking banquets.

Meanwhile, President Saleh is paying field visits to the camps that belong to the North Military Area that have just come out of four-year violent war in the northern province of Sana'a.