President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced from the southern city of Aden the inauguration of the campaign for parliamentary elections scheduled for late April.
Saleh said, “here in Aden we inaugurate the campaign as we inaugurated 2011; from here a lot of important events happened in the history of the Yemeni people.”
During an extended meeting for the supporters of the GPC, the ruling party, and the allied National Democratic Parties, he pointed out that the campaign will include all
Yemeni provinces, calling on the opposition JMP coalition to participate in the elections effectively and to “overcome pettiness, and to rise to the level of the homeland of May 22, 1990.”
The reference was to the day on which he declared unity between the Yemeni North and South.
The Yemeni president also appealed to local, Arab, and international organizations to oversee the electoral process, and stated that the government had no reservations on their monitoring.
Opposition parties condemned the ruling party for proceeding with elections despite their continued objections over procedure and oversight.
Abdul Rahman Ba Fazel, the chairman of the parliamentary bloc for the Islah party, threatened the ruling party with “dire consequences” for their unilateral actions, pointing out what he called “the error” of holding elections in the current circumstances.
Ruling Party intransigence will “irritate problems, exacerbate poverty, and plunge the country into further crisis,” in his words.
Sultan al-Atawani, the Secretary General of the Nasserite Unionist party said of the president’s speech, “the ruling party’s holding of elections puts tremendous pressure on the opposition parties.”
The JMP and Independent blocs have disagreed strongly with the ruling party in recent months, and continue to boycott parliamentary sessions.
They carried out a demonstration and sit-in outside the parliamentary building in protest of official actions, and threatened to expand the demonstrations to include all the Yemeni cities.
The chairman of the independent parliamentary bloc, Ali Aubu Rabbu al-Kadi said that the Parliament will adhere to a peaceful struggle, and that it is committed to holding ongoing demonstrations until the ruling party retracts its unilateral measures.
From his part, the chairman of the parliamentary socialist bloc, Aidaros al-Nakib, considered the authorities’ threat to suppress demonstrations as part of broader plan to intimidate and frighten citizens.
“But what the JMP has called for is not a violation; it is devotion to the law,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Higher Committee for Elections and Referenda called for those who wish to pursue candidacy to the parliament and who occupy high position in the government to officially relinquish their posts and officially nominate themselves.
Accordingly, a number of prominent ministers announced their resignations as a prelude to their candidacy, including the Deputy Prime Minister for Defense, and the Minister of Civil Service and Insurance.