Yemenis elect Hadi as consensus president

Yemeni citizen Nourya Ahmad casts her vote. More than four million Yemeni women were eligible to vote in the presidential election. [Faisal Darem/Al-Shorfa]

Yemeni citizen Nourya Ahmad casts her vote. More than four million Yemeni women were eligible to vote in the presidential election. [Faisal Darem/Al-Shorfa]

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Millions of Yemenis flocked to polling stations nationwide on Tuesday (February 21st) to cast their vote for the national consensus candidate Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the first election since President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down.

Hadi ran as the sole candidate based on the Gulf Arab initiative, which was signed by Yemeni political parties last November as part of the resolution to end the political crisis in Yemen.

While casting his vote in the 12th electoral district in Sanaa, Hadi told the media that election day "represents a historic turning point that reflects the wisdom of Yemenis to emerge from this crisis and difficult conditions which have plagued the country since the beginning of last year".

Saba al-Hajji, a member of the Supreme Commission for Elections and the head of the Security Committee, told Al-Shorfa that he expected participation in the elections to have exceeded 80% of voters.

"[Voter] turnout was high to the extent that some polling stations ran out of ballots, which prompted the Supreme Commission to direct the main committees to use the ballots of nearby committees using formal directives to ensure transparency and impartiality of the election process," he said.

According to official statistics, the number of registered voters reached over 10 million of which over 4 million were women.

The commission devised a new technical system that links polling stations with an information centre located at the Supreme Commission's headquarters, which enables voters currently outside their electoral districts to vote.

Committees were also formed to register the estimated two million voters who had reached the legal voting age but were not included in electoral lists.

Election 'ran smoothly'

Suhail Hamza, member of the Supreme Commission for Elections and the head of the Media and Media Awareness sector, told Al-Shorfa, "The election ran smoothly in 292 [electoral] districts, while 9 districts witnessed disruptions: five in the Lahj province, three in al-Dali province and one in Abyan. They were all relocated to the centres of those provinces and normal voting resumed".

According to AFP, southern separatists who oppose the presidential election managed to shut half of the polling stations in Aden by force, and also to shut several centers in other southern provinces.

According to the news agency, four people were killed in the election-related violence.

Local and international monitoring groups said they were happy with what they had seen so far.

"The election process is running transparently based upon the preparations made in advance," Adel al-Himi of the "Siaq" organisation told Al-Shorfa. "There have been no transgressions in the polling stations that [our] organisation has visited."

The total number of workers in all the electoral committees reached 89,892, while 103,000 officers and soldiers were charged with protecting the committees and polling stations.

Nourya Ahmad, a 60-year old Yemeni citizen, told Al-Shorfa, "I have come here to vote for security and stability and to take part in securing the future of my only son and my grandchildren, as well as bringing to an end an era of conflict which brought Yemen to the verge of collapse and civil war".

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    قادر وجدي

    2012-3-5

    The elections to be held in Yemen should be fair and well organized, because the Yemenis have suffered a great deal because of what happened in Yemen during the rule of Al- Abdullah Saleh, who was a tyrant. Under the rule of this dictator, the Yemenis suffered terribly and they should think more carefully about the current situation. Everything in Yemen must be stable, to restore everything to its normal status and even better. The Yemenis are required to work hard and do their best in order to hold the elections, as they should. Personally, I believe that the Yemenis are determined to have some development in their social and economic life. The current situation in Yemen necessitates holding fair and free elections. The Yemenis have to take this issue seriously, because if the elections are organized successfully, the Yemenis will make up for everything that was taken from them, and will take revenge upon those who oppressed them, especially Ali Abdullah Saleh, who should never be allowed to live in tranquility after killing many innocent citizens, who had done nothing wrong. In my opinion, Yemen suffered terribly because of the recent developments and they should enjoy the best conditions. However, the only way to achieve this is to organize fair elections, to avoid any troubles in the future and to restore what was taken from them.

  • نبيل عابدين

    2012-3-1

    The Yemeni people today desperately need to get out of the crisis that has plagued the country for more than a year in order to return the security situation in Yemen to its previous stable, self-sustaining situation before the events of the Arab spring that passed today, which led to the suspension of the various activities that contributed to strengthening the infrastructure of the country, which had negative effects on the children of the Yemeni people because they have increased their suffering as a result of political conflict that took place between the governing authority of Yemen under the leadership of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, on the one hand, and the people of the Yemeni opposition on the other hand. So, the presidential elections will be the beginning of the solution to the problem of the Yemeni people until the overall election takes place after two years, which will include all legislative and executive authorities in the country, for the purpose of electing a new national government to take responsibility for change and reform in various fundamental aspects of the country for the promotion towards the peak and to get rid of the negative effects incurred by the Yemeni citizens during those years of abysmal injustice and tyranny practiced by their previous government that did not meet the needs of the people as required.

  • نايف علي

    2012-2-28

    The elections which took place in Yemen enjoyed a big turnout, as many voters, including men and women, flocked to the polling stations and voted for those who deserve their votes, despite the fact that the elections took place very early. However, they were necessary in a country like Yemen, which cannot remain without a political regime and without a President to run the country. Despite all the challenges, the elections were very successful and the Yemenis conveyed a good image of civilized, democratic and fair elections.

  • ريان محمد

    2012-2-28

    The elections that took place in Yemen after Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down are certainly a positive move. They have been well received by all people and by the whole world. In fact, through these elections, we aspire to a real and radical change in the country, to become better than the previous dark era, which lasted more than three decades under the leadership of Ali Abdullah Saleh. The latter has not provided anything for the benefit of his country. Thus, people revolted peacefully and overthrew the President. They will have another president through the elections which have been held. These elections will help return stability to Yemen. By the word stability, I mean here political and security stability. It will be the start of a new era of democracy in Yemen. Whoever will be elected as President or become a politician should do his best to please the people and ensure a better life for them. If he is unable to do so, he will seal his political fate forever, as he will no longer be able to undertake political work, given the presence of free elections where the people choose what is best for them in order to lead the country.

  • محمد نعمان العطار

    2012-2-25

    In a country long-dominated by one man, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the declaration of new elections is being seen as a milestone. After a year of uprisings that turned into tribal fighting and a strengthened Al-Qaida branch, people want to grasp a new face in their sight. The financial destitution is a disheartening challenge in setting up this special election. Recently, many Yemenis appear to be gratified to vote in an election that ushers in a temporary period. However, unless these elections lead to transformation and reformation, they will be meaningless. I am optimistic and hopeful towards the new elections in Yemen and that it will enter into a new phase. A strong leadership can prove to be successful for Yemen and its deteriorating circumstances. Undoubtedly, the new administration will have to face countless troubles and new challenges towards Yemen’s economic and social conditions. The youth revolution wants a change in order to guard the country’s solidarity and harmony.