Foreign Policy Blogs

“Early Presidential Elections” the only way forward according to President Saleh

The Following piece is written by a Yemeni-based journalist who writes for the Foreign Policy Blogs network and, due to serious security concerns, remains anonymous.

In a Friday speech, just ahead of Yemen National Day, President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced that he was in support of early Presidential elections. He also denounced foreign meddling, stating that an attempted “coup” would destabilize Yemen to the point of civil war.

This statement left many analysts a bit agog to say the least, given that Saleh had agreed to sign the GCC proposal which announced Yemen’s transition of power. For a President on his way out, Saleh acted very much like a leader planning the future.
Actually his later refusal to sign the agreement and his attack on Sheikh Sadeeq al-Ahmar, confirmed that he was indeed in no way willing to step down just yet.

Within the Constitution

Since the beginning of the uprising, President Saleh has always maintained that if transition of power there will be it should take place “within the Constitution”; in other words in his favor.

For a start, no resignation could be received without the Parliament vote, which in itself guarantees that Saleh will remain well seated on the presidency chair…..

Now, if the Parliament (which is quite empty nowadays, after the mass resignations of its members) rejects the resignation, Saleh would in all legality have to wait for the end of his term, in 2013.

In that knowledge one would have to wonder what Saleh could stand to win with early elections.

Inheritance of Power

In all probability, the embattled President would not present himself as a candidate but rather Ahmed, his son. The People’s Congress would easily promote him as leader to the party, making him de facto the official runner for the presidential.
Armed with his father’s blessing and the  somewhat support of the International Community, one can easily imagined Ahmed convincing the US and others for that matter of his understanding of the “terrorist” situation and of his commitment to continue on the fight.

That should win him some brownie points…

Political Opposition Waved

Furthermore, early elections would mean that the Youth Movement would have little time to organize itself into a proper registered political party and set up a campaign program. With the popular opposition out of the way; then only the old political guard would be in a position to challenge the People’s Congress.

But somewhat al-Islah, which let’s face it is the only political entity strong enough to pose a major threat to Saleh, is ever more repulsive to many than the President himself.

In the case of a faceoff between al-Islah and Ahmed Saleh, the US will throw all it weights behind the Saleh’s clan, too scared to see the Islamists rise to power.

The threat of Civil War

“Civil War”, the words have been uttered by Saleh many times in the last few weeks. A threat or a warning, Saleh who remains in control of much of the Army has proven that he will stoop to whatever level in order to remain in power.
This “obsession” is pushing Yemen closer to the abyss. With a dire shortage of diesel and cooking oil, its economy and finances in tatters and a food crisis looming, Yemen will implode if nothing is done soon.