Yemen

Presidential election takes place


Published

The presidential election to end Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33 years in office takes place today.

There is only one candidate, the incumbent vice-president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. He was chosen by all the political parties in parliament as a consensus candidate to lead the country through the next stage of establishing a new democratic structure and managing parliamentary elections.

There is no lower limit required for election, so one vote will do. However, the greater the vote, the more legitimacy the new president will have in his task of brining the fractured country together. That will not be an easy task. There has been considerable violence and intimidation during the campaign period.

The army still fights battles in the south with al-Qaeda forces. The Southern Movement which wants the old South Yemen returned is boycotting the poll as are the Shiite Houthis and the Youth Movement which started the revolution last year.

The new president will also have to manage a government which is still heavily controlled by Saleh’s family, especially the military, and which fears reprisals if any changes are too dramatic.

Early polling saw lines of people waiting to vote and a result with more than 50% turning out will be considered a success.

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