I approached Judge Suahl Hamza of the Yemeni Higher Election Committee at the Media Center launch to request an interview with National Yemen. He was exhausted when I met with him. When I asked him about the election challenges, he responded with five simple words, “The world wants an election.”
Judge Hamza was entirely right from the perspective of what international players and donors want. The international community has a large interest in the elections; they are the financers of the political transition deal that is taking place in Yemen. The international community has invested heavily in the elections in order to promote high turn out and validate Hadi as the new president.
During the same period, the attitudes of many have slowly changed in regards to the election. In seemingly just two days, al-Houthi switched from boycotting the elections to going with the election but unannounced. Shaikh al-Ahmer also came out and said that the past should be forgotten and that he looks forward to Hadi and a new Yemen. Even some youth in the Change Squares have changed their mind and have accepted the slogan of the presidential election. The Friday that celebrated the one-year anniversary of the revolution was even given a positive name to promote the presidential campaign.
All of these changing attitudes are positive and all look towards saving Yemen. But the question is why have all these people changed their mind? Are they truly doing it to save Yemen? Or is it just because the international community has pushed everyone to take a similar position on the election? Will these positive changes continue and lead Yemen into the future? Or are they just temporary measures to protect the international community’s investment in the election?
What happens in the case that Hadi does not meet the wishes of the people who switched their mind? This can only be answered after February 21st.
While it is a great step that many have changed their minds towards Hadi and the election, the positive atmosphere will last only as long as Hadi is able to implement a civil state and become the first Arab leader to achieve what is not been achievable for decades. I wish Hadi the best as he works for a better future for Yemen despite what tomorrow may bring.