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|Ruling party allocated almost YR 60 billion to buy votes in 2003, IFES expert|
Article Date: December 17, 2008
The ruling party allocated almost YR 60 billion to buy votes in the 2003 parliamentary elections in an attempt to increase its election opportunities in Parliament, an international expert specialized in the election affairs said.
Chief expert of political finance at the International Foundation for Election Systems IFES Dr. Marshen Walky, however, expressed regret over using such sum in what he described as political and electoral corruption while the sum was rather to used to implement infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads.
He said that a report by the IDEA Organization on democracy building in Yemen revealed that the ruling party in Yemen had allocated between YR 40-60 billion during the 2003 elections to buy votes.
At a press conference in Sana'a on Wednesday Walky said though the Yemeni election law bans buying electoral votes and using the public funds in elections, there is no observation or control of the spending of public funds on electoral campaigns.
He likened Yemeni legislations to Swiss cheese full of holes.
He urged that candidates must exercise transparency to disclose resources to fund their electoral campaigns.
Walky said political corruption linked to financing electoral campaigns is a threat to the whole development and the development of democracy in particular in any country as some businessmen endorse candidates in return these businessmen can ensure they can get back what they paid for electoral campaigns through obtaining contracts and investment tenders through winning candidates they endorse.
Walky brought up the misuse of the public funds during elections saying that international monitors judged the electoral process in 2006 was not totally fair due to exclusive use of public funds.
He said the EU mission, which observed the 2006 local and presidential elections in Yemen, found out that many officials used the country's resources such as buildings, cars and ceremonies to succeed their electoral campaigns.
Walky said changing the electoral system will not solve the problem of political corruption; however, he said the Party-List system is the best solution to restrict buying votes, even if it will not tackle the problem completely.He urged media to play a vital role in establishing awareness to curb illegal spending of candidates so that only efficient and right winners come to power.