Where Does the Road Lead Beyond Yemen’s Presidential Elections?

Fakhri al-Arashi

Only few weeks remain before Yemen’s new presidential elections after full year of escalation ended when President Saleh left the country in exchange for full immunity.
Now, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi is the consensus presidential candidate for the next two years. It is within this context that the international community is struggling to anticipate the road that Yemen will go down in a few weeks time.
As the 21st of February quickly approaches, the number of high profile delegates  like Hugues Mingarelli, Managing Director for the Middle East at the European External Action Service; Maria Calivis,  UNICEF Regional Director; as well as many other officials from the United States, United Kingdom and United Nations are  streaming into the country hoping to control what they can.
The goal of each of these dignitaries is to help Yemen simply pass through this critical political moment in the country’s history to ensure that Yemen will not become a more potent recruiting ground for extremists. However, much more will need to be done to avoid such a fate than just to focus on a single  election.
Yemen, for example, needs about $15 billion US dollars to recover from the existing crisis. Additionally, Yemen’s security infrastructure needs to be rebuilt, and the living standards of the country’s citizens must improve. It is only by dealing with all of these issues can the international community even begin to ensure a stable Yemen in the long-term.
But what if the international community did not rise to address the challenges that Yemen faces? What if Yemen received no direct or indirect support from the international community and neighboring countries. Would the people of Yemen be able to solve their own problems? Or would Yemen simply become the abyss that everyone fears?
The reality is that many of these questions are obsolete as Yemen’s future lies primarily with the Yemen people themselves. Yemenis will need to make sure that they focus their efforts on building a stronger Yemen, instead of trying to decide whether the future President of Yemen is from the north or the south. How much responsibility the Yemeni people take upon themselves will ultimately determine whether or not a road map leads to a successful president election and the potentially bright future beyond it.
To follow the road map to a better future, Yemenis must fight corruption, open the country up to more investment, and ultimately, have full faith that the new president will do what is right for the country as a whole.