By NY Staff
Abdulhakeem Al-Shawish, a leader in the Southern Movement, said that supporters of southern movement may have successfully hindered the elections in the southern provinces during a conference on February 21st. His comments followed the actions of southern supporters that broke into the electoral commission and burned ballot boxes.
Al-Shawish said that the supporters only did this in response to the “violent way they were dealt with.”
According to Al-Shawish, southern supporters were protesting peacefully in front of the election commission when they were attacked and shot at. In response, the demonstrators broke into the commission’s building and burned ballot boxes and voting cards. He said that after that occurred, other commissions closed upon hearing what happened and willingly submitted their boxes.
Leading members in the movement including Qasem Jubran, Ali Al-Ghreeb, Saleh Saeed, and Naser Al-Fadhli also took part in the press conference in Aden to discuss the elections of February 21st.
During the conference, Qasem Jubran condemned the remarks made by the American Ambassador in Sana’a who underestimated the effect of the Houthi and Southern Movement boycott of the elections.
Additionally, Ali Al-Ghareeb noted that 60 of 100 directorates followed the peaceful movement of the south. He added that it was governmental employees who participated in the elections and were clearly being controlled by the government. Al-Ghareeb continued that they would continue their peaceful protest with the great people of the south who have lost over 1200 martyrs.
“We told Ben-Omar that we do not reject dialogue. However, there should be dialogue between the conflicting sides in the north first. When things settle down, we can have dialogue under international supervision,” Al-Ghareeb said.
During the conference, the leaders said the that elections failed with boycotts reaching 11% attendance rate in Aden, 4% in Lahj, 4% in Abyan, 5% in Shabwa, 7% in Hadramout, 3% in Al-Mahara, 1% in Dhali’e and 0% in Socotra. The leaders also noted that 10 people were killed, 79 injured and 43 arrested on February 21st.
Wajdi Al-Sha’abi, spokesperson of the Youth Union of the South said that they fought military units who came to force the elections upon them and rejected the statement of some leaders that condemned their actions.
“We admit that sometimes we fight with all available tools, including weapons, and we are not afraid of national or international actions,” said Al-Sha’abi.
The process of sorting votes continued in Aden until February 24th. Some sources said that the initial results showed that elections were held in 94 centers; with voting stopped in 36 centers; and the total voter turn out reaching 57.1%.