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The Dark Future of Yemen's Ruling Party and Opposition
  Written By: Najeeb Al-Yafe' (FOR THE YEMEN POST)
  Article Date:
January 19, 2009



The ruling party, the General People Congress (GPC), is going alone in the forthcoming parliamentary elections; however, it announces from time to time different initiatives and mediation efforts and leaks information to friendly media to slander the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), accusing them of being agents and disloyal. 

At the meantime, the economic situation is scary and the government cut 50 percent of the 2009 budget. The price of a barrel of oil is less than the average price estimated by the government at $55 and security chaos is widespread in Southern provinces. There has been a rise in kidnapping operations targeting Yemenis and foreigners. However, GPC leaderships stress that the crisis is only in the mind of those who speak about its existence.

In return, the vault of people on November 27 was, according to JMP leaderships, the start for a new phase for a peaceful and smooth expression of demands. The JMP recent statement noted that the demand ceiling will be raised in the future.

It seems that it has been preparing its followers and bases in preparation for the national dialogue stage so as to face the escalation of the ruling party using the strategy "Giving back the Electoral Right Usurped by the State to People".

This attitude is faced with the increased influence of GPC's "Estrangement Stream" who pushes toward creating a crisis and deep constitutional vacuum and towards conducting elections without involving other parties. These people fear conducting free and impartial elections because they might lose their wealth, interests and posts which were illegitimately reached.

A GPC source told Al-Motammer.net that his party is firmly proceeding towards conducting the fourth parliamentary elections next April and demanded the GPC followers to be cautious and not to believe who propagates rumors to the opposite.  The ruling party and authority is betting on state resources and their ability to exploit the Central Bank, public jobs and armed forces, as well as the interest networks formed by the authority, but these factors combined are no more capable to resolve the internal problems. 

Moreover, elections alone are incapable to resolve the problems that got complicated in the midlands, second degree provinces, eastern and southern provinces as well as Sa'ada.  The country's economy is collapsing due to the policies that rely completely on oil revenues as well as the inflation of public jobs and the dependence on the plunging dollar.  

Elections register is among the serious problems and one year and a half is the shortest period demanded by the companies bidding for creating a clean elections register "civil register". A French company demanded $150 million to prepare such a register.

The best way to resolve problems is to face them rather than go beyond them. There are two issues facing opposition parties represented by the JMP over the next period: the official media which is completely dominated by the ruling party as well as security and army institutions which are officially mobilized against any future change.

At the media level, the opposition parties proved to be incapable to communicate their message in an easy and understandable manner adopting primarily the direct contact, being the most effective way. Further, they have limited professional capacities to send extensive media messages to all factions.

JMP should also work for giving another image and to call off the ruling parties allegations which make people afraid and consider any change to be dangerous as was the case during the last presidential elections when the GPC hinted "either the current ruling party or the country will turn into a second Iraq or Somalia if ruled by the opposition".


Position of opposition parties 

- The opposition parties will resort to the street and will not confine themselves to the passive boycotting.

- JMP might not be able to control its members and bases once clashes with GPC leaders or members take place.

- Forcing them to use the worst options.

- The voice of wise and expert men will disappear and it will be replaced with that of fighting and confronting.

- Resorting to another form and through the national and peaceful escalation to force the ruling party to accept JMP conditions.

- Using the bases and taking to streets with more protests and demonstrations until reaching civil disobedience.

- Sacrificing more people from JMP leaders or members and security personnel once the ruling party insists on rejecting the demands of JMP. 

- JMP will present itself as a convincing and real alternative for citizens and national forces to replace the current ruling party.

- The current chaos will enable JMP to convince citizens and patriots to search for alternatives.

- The existing leaderships of the regime and their sons might let into a conflict and we might witness the renewal of Aden's January 1986 liquidation events in Sana'a. 

- JMP is the sole, safe and national project for filling the gap left by the ruling party. It is also the system that can represent almost all society factions.

- JMP has national leaderships who enjoy wide popularity inside and strong relations with the outside world through which they can correct the situation inside the country and appease regional and foreign countries if a civil disobedience takes place and the ruling party quits power.

- JMP comprises the different political and intellectual tendencies and this will help safeguard the interest of all active political forces.

- The consequences will be socially and economically heavy and big; however, the experience of JMP leaderships will make it easy to overcome them. 


Future options

The ruling party will lose its established fame before the international community once it insists and proceeds in conducting elections without involving the opposition parties. This could also lead to halting international aids and support as well as losing the constitutional legitimacy and national consensus.

Further, this could force the door wide open before people having accounts to settle and get the country back to the sectarian, positional and racial field. It will also cause the country to plunge into a state of political and economic unrest.

The escalation of JMP might lead the ruling party to resort to the security option and start arrests to quell the JMP leaders and members or to adopt Siyyad Bari's policy of the "burnt land"; thus turning Yemen into a second Somalia.

GPC's proceedings in preparation for the upcoming elections could also stir and escalate the problems in south Yemen and this might cause the issue to be internationalized. It can also renew Sa'ada war through war traders who exploit the crisis for illegal and fast enrichment. These problems combined could lead to the collapse of the current regime.

The move will also result in a weaker parliament comprising of officials' sons, merchants and opportunists. It will also help the one-side opinion to flourish while Yemenis cannot live under the policies of one party and its narrow vision.