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.
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".