Saturday, June 24, 2006

If You Insist

Just another selfless servant of the people. Al-Jazeera (06.24.06):
"Yemen's president declared Saturday that he intended to run for another term in September's presidential polls, saying that he had caved in to popular pressure to reverse his decision of last year. Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled since 1978, said last July that he would not seek another seven-year mandate because he wanted to open the way for the peaceful rotation of power." Yemen president seeks another run
"Saturday's announcement was the second time Saleh changed his mind about an earlier statement not to run, having done so in 1999 - the first time he faced a direct vote." It's good work, if you can get it. Back in 1999, the last time he ran, Ali got 96% of the vote. There was only one other candidate, who coincidentally was a member of Ali's political party (the General People's Congress, aka the GPC). There were plenty of other folks who wanted to run, but Yemen's parliament declared all of them ineligible. So what's the deal? The Daily Star (06.23.06):
"By every measure, Yemen is an autocratic state, with power highly concentrated in the executive branch. Both Parliament, which is dominated by the GPC, and the the judiciary are under the president's sway. The military and security forces are largely headed by Saleh's relatives and fellow tribesmen, and evidence suggests that corruption is rampant among this ruling clan." Will Yemen's Saleh choose to be a democrat or an autocrat?
Ali has insisted "his decision to step down is not a political ploy." On the other hand, his party has "repeatedly said that they cannot find a candidate to replace him." "This week, the GPC organized rallies across the country to urge Saleh to seek a new term. Their calls for Saleh to remain in office were echoed by the country's state-owned newspapers, which carried headlines Thursday such as 'Don't let us down,' and 'We swear you are our leader.'"
President Saleh (Don't you wish, George)


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