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National: The Election Only One Man Can Win—But Yemen is Used to That

Authors: Hugh Naylor, and Hakim Almasmari
February 16, 2012


There is only one name on next week's presidential ballot paper, but most Yemenis view the rubber-stamp vote as a necessary first step in ending the Saleh era. Hugh Naylor and Hakim Almasmari, foreign correspondents, report.

SANAA // It is being billed as an historic election for Yemen. Massive campaign billboards have been erected along the capital's boulevards. Authorities have taken out radio, television and newspaper advertisements and sent teams across the country to urge the 10 million registered electors to cast their votes next Tuesday.

The ballot paper will not be hard to decipher. The only name on it is that of Abdurabu Mansour Hadi, the vice president. Under an agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, Mr Hadi will replace Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose desire to prolong more than three decades in power tried the patience of Yemenis fed up with one-man rule and festering crises.

Although to call it an election stretches the definition, the process is seen by most as necessary to get rid of Mr Saleh. Three times the president offered to sign the GCC accord ending his rule, and three times he backed away before finally putting pen to paper in November.

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