[05/July/2005] By Musatfa Nasar , Fatma Mottaher & Thuraya Dammaj.
The 22nd of May 1990 was really a turning point in the modern history of Yemen. It was the day on which Yemeni people had crowned their long standing struggle for the homeland’s reunification. Most importantly is that a new era of democracy , security and political stability was launched in the country.
The general referenda held in 1991 to approve the first constitution of the Yemeni single state was the milestone of democratic march in Yemen. The result was 89% in favor of the constitution.
The republic of Yemen’s constitution amended through general referenda organized 2001, stated that people is the source of power and they shall exercise it directly through general election and referenda and indirectly through the elected local councils. Thereby , political regime in Yemen is based on democracy’s principles , pluralism and multi-parties.
Yemenis went on bolstering democracy experience and have grown accustom with its practices . Three parliamentary elections held in the country so far in 1993, 1997and 2003. The first direct presidential election took place in 1999. First local council election arranged in 2001.
Yemenis of all political stripes are convinced that democracy is the ideal option for ruling and peaceful exchange of power. President of the republic Ali Abdullah Saleh frequently repeated that “ democracy is the life’s boat for both of the rulers and peoples”. He said.
Yemeni politicians either of the ruling party or the opposition are very keen to exercise democracy in consistent with the constitution. The two sides become more familiar with democracy principles and both of them is quite a ware of the others role.
Mr. Sultan AL-Barakany ,the head of the ruling party’s parliamentary bloc , the People General Congress(PGC) says” our relation as a ruling party with the opposition is governed by the constitution and laws. It is regulated by the agreement on the goals and disagreement on the means”.
He went on saying” we are proud that our country become familiar with a new situation known as a ruling and opposition. No body can deny the positive political changes which have been taking place ever since the first Yemeni election conducted in 1993”.
Dr. Mansor Al-Zindany, Mp of the Yemeni Grouping for Reform , largest opposition party, says “ there is no way for comparison between the situation before the unity and what happens now. In the past we used to resort to armament activities to protest to our opponents policy or to come to power but now we have abandoned those vulgar ways forever and embarked on democracy for 14 years”.
Some analysts and observers think that relation between regime and opposition in Yemen is in the right track. The opposition plays reasonable role in criticizing the government performance and suspending some of its decisions. In short , the government forced to adopt transparence measures and to embrace practical mechanisms for combating corruption.
The head of political division of the Yemeni Socialist Party, Mr. Abdul-Ghany Abdul-Kader says “ democracy is the main guarantee for protecting the unity and releasing the peoples potentials to go on development.
He adds “ relationship between opposition and ruling authority must be based on equivalent basis thus, sound and quiet dialogue should be prevailed apart from smearing and defaming but targeting national interest”.
The government provides the political parties with financial support in accordance with the law. 25% of the government subsidy distributed to the whole parties represented in the parliament, whereas 75% distributed to the parties according to the percentage of votes which the party obtained in the general election, with the exception of those parties which gained less than 5% of the total amount of votes.
Following the pluralism and multi-parties being adopted in the country , 46 of political parties were declared , however 22 out of them had taken part in the 1993 parliamentary election. Eight parties had managed to win parliamentarian representation at the time against five parties in the current parliament.
Sultan Al- Brarkani , said ; the main issue between regime and opposition is that we couldn’t get real democracy and regime without genuine opposition..
He added “ democracy is a long build- up process and it has been adopted recently in Yemen , however if we have come up to 40 % or 50% of progression it is quite good..