YEMEN, Elections and Parliament

The Al Majlis An-Nuwaab (House of Representatives) has 301 members, elected for a period of 6 years.

  • Required age for voting: 18
  • Required age for membership: 25
  • Last legislative elections: 27th April 2003
  • last Presidential elections: 23 September 1999
  • Next Presidential elections in September 2006

Despite the increase of political parties since the unification and the organisation of free elections, three parties dominate the political spectrum of the country.

  • The General People’s Congress (GPC), al-Mu’tammar al-Sha’bi al-‘Am, sprung the former unique party of North Yemen, is the party of the President of the Republic Ali Abdallah Saleh. He was President of the Arab Republic of Yemen since 1978.
  • The Yemenite Socialist Party (YSP), is sprung from the former unique party of South Yemen. Due to its poor electoral results, compared to its weight before the unification, it is marginalized vis-à-vis the GPC. Due to the Yemen civil war (1994), the YSP lost most of its leaders, after the failed secession attempt.
  • The Yemeni Congregation for Reform (YCR), Islah (al-Tajmu al-Yamani li al-Islah), islamo-tribal party founded in 1990, is nowadays the second biggest party. It is close to the GPC on the ideological and political issues. Its leader, Abdullah bin Hussein al-Ahmar, is the Sheikh of the Hachid confederation (voir tribal system) and president of the Parliament.

The first parliamentary elections in the unified Yemen (27th of April 1993), concluded with a 3 year transition period, initiated by the unification, concerning the fusion of institutions of North and South Yemen. They were the first multi-party elections hold in the Arabic Peninsula. They confirmed the victory of the Presidential party, the GPC.

Although the electoral process is steadidly improving, the Yemeni electoral system is still tending to be a one-party.

Presidential elections:

Last presidential elections took place on the 23rd of September 1999. Ali Abdallah Saleh was re-elected President of the republic with 96,3% of the votes.

On the 20th of February 2001, a series of constitutional amendments were adopted by referendum. They dealt notably with the extension of the mandate of the president (from 5 to 7 years) and the deputies (from 4 to 6 years), and the extension of the Consultative Council competencies (appointed by the President). Hence, these elections involve important changes in the Yemenite political system.
The first local polls allowed the election of 732 representatives of the Local Councils, thus marking the beginning of the decentralisation process. The Islah and the YSP participated without enthusiasm in both, presidential and local elections. These elections marked a concentration of powers in the hands of the President.

Next legislative elections are going to take place in April 2003, and the Presidential election in September 2006. President Saleh has recently evoked the political future of his son, free “as any other Yemenite citizen” of being candidate to his succession.