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EU Mission: We will not Observe Elections if Opposition not Involved
  Written By: Moneer Al-Omari (YEMEN POST STAFF) 
  Article Date:
January 26, 2009



The European Union has recently sent an explorative mission to assess the current situation in Yemen and explore the usefulness for sending an observatory mission for the April 27 parliamentary elections.

The mission has so far conducted a series of meetings with the leaderships of the ruling party and opposition. It aimed to reach reconciliation and resolve the current crisis which threatens the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Moreover, the explorative mission has met with civil society organizations in Sana'a and Aden to discuss the current situation and the usefulness for conducting the elections and sending an observatory team.

Among the most important topics addressed is empowering and involving women in the political process. In this regard, the mission stressed the importance of keeping the promises that political parties made in supporting women and empowering them through allocating them a 15-percent quota in parliament.

This comes as opposition parties represented by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) consider boycotting the upcoming parliamentary elections while the ruling party, the General People Congress (GPC) proceeds in its unilateral preparations for these elections.

Informed sources told the Yemen Post that the mission is working towards delaying the elections for one year so that the demands of opposition parties can be met during this period. The mission also informed the ruling party that they will not send observers for one-sided elections.

The mission also advised opposition parties not to boycott the upcoming elections but rather to postpone it for a certain period of time so that the suggested amendments of JMP on elections law can be contained.

The sources further noted that President Saleh met with the EU mission last week and told them he is willing to meet there demands; however, he noted that the ceiling of demands by JMP is getting higher especially when they call for treating Sa'ada war effects and recognizing the South Yemen issue.

For his part, the American Ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche urged the ruling and opposition parties to provide concessions to proceed and conduct the parliamentary elections and to allow Yemeni citizens to express their will freely and impartially, stressing that what is happening nowadays is frustrating to all those interested in the Yemeni democratic process.