Ruling, opposition parties ink reform accord as Yemen seeks breakthrough in political tension

14:07, July 18, 2010      

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The Yemeni ruling party and opposition coalition signed on Saturday a full-scale accord on political and electoral reforms to end political tension and prepare for holding the next year's parliamentary elections on schedule, state media reported.

The accord which inked Saturday between the ruling party, General People's Congress (GPC), and the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs), stated to implement an agreement signed by both in February 2009, Saba news agency said.

Under the accord, the two sides agreed to provide a chance for all political parties and non-governmental organizations to discuss the necessary constitutional amendments for developing and improving the political and electoral system, said Saba.

Both sides also agreed to carry out political and electoral reforms to prepare holding the upcoming parliamentary elections on schedule, April 2011.

In addition, they also agreed to set up a joint committee for launching an overall national dialogue between all political forces and to hold a meeting in order to nominate their representatives in the committee.

The signed accord stated that both sides should comply with the resolutions made by the upcoming newly-formed joint committee, and the committee's meetings and resolutions would be televised for public.

President Ali Abdulla Saleh considered the accord as a major breakthrough in the Yemeni political scene.

"It's a positive step towards resolving the political tension," Saba quoted Saleh as saying. "It opens a new political phase as the nation is for all people, not only for the ruling party or opposition," Saleh added.

Saleh also called upon the GPC and JMPs to comply with signed accord and stop propaganda campaigns against each other. "We are all partners in the political life and the nation is for all," Saleh said.

For his part, the JMPs' representative Abdul Wahab Mahamoud expressed the pleasure after signing the accord, wishing that the coming period could witness further cooperation between the opposition and the ruling party in making great achievements and uniting all Yemenis, Saba added.

On Feb. 23, 2009, the GPC and JMPs struck an agreement, under which both sides agreed to delay the parliamentary elections previously scheduled for April last year to April 2011, as well as to carry out political and electoral reforms to prepare holding the upcoming parliamentary elections.

However, both sides traded accusations of shrinking in implementing the agreement, which caused a political crisis between them until periodic negotiations yielded the signing of Saturday's memorandum.

On the eve of May 22, in which the country celebrated the 20th anniversary of the National Day for Unity, Saleh addressed the nation, promising that "a government could be formed by all influential political forces represented in the parliament, especially the basic partner -- the opposition Socialist Party -- in achieving the unity."

The opposition Socialist Party is a member of the JMPs coalition, which includes Al-Islah (Reform) Party, the main Islamist opposition and other smaller factions.

Saleh also made orders to free all anti-unity and political opposition's prisoners in the southern and northern provinces in his address, according to Saba.

Source: Xinhua

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