Political Disputes Threaten Unity of Yemeni Opposition

Article Summary
Yemen’s upcoming National Dialogue Conference is aimed at uniting the country’s political forces to work towards resolving the current political impasse, but disputes threaten the unity of the opposition Yemeni Joint Meeting Parties in advance of the meeting, reports Abdel Rahman Abdo.

Political leaders affiliated with the Yemeni Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) expressed their concerns over the potential disintegration of the bloc, more than a decade after its formation [Editor’s note: the JMP was actually formed in 2005]. It was formed in opposition to the regime of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was toppled by a popular youth revolution that began early last year.
These concerns emerge amidst many obstacles in the bloc’s political trajectory, especially regarding its participation in the National Dialogue Conference. This conference was planned according to the initiative for a political settlement, which alleviated the political crisis that  has erupted last year.

According to columnist Abdullah Sabri, “it is still too early to say whether or not the JMP is on the verge of breaking down. However, the rate of representation in the national dialogue reveals that some of the JMP’s parties are keen to participate in the conference under the party’s banner. This is true, despite the fact that until recently these same parties have been condemning any attempt on the part of their peers in the JMP to stray away from ‘common work’ within the framework of the JMP.”

For his part, Mohammad al Nuaimi, head of the political department of the Popular Forces Union (PFU) party — one of the opposition parties in the JMP — said that “there are indications confirming fears that some political forces within the JMP have embarked on the path of new alliances centered around the presidency and dividing the national project on the basis of quotas. However, some parties continue to foment trouble by shuffling the cards of alliances. Should these concerns be proven, a disaster would wreck havoc on the national project.”

In a statement to Al-Khaleej, Nuaimi urged all national forces involved in [the dialogue] to prove to the domestic and international public that these reports are not true, and to attach great importance to the national project, setting the appropriate conditions for the success of the dialogue.

Nuaimi — whose party was the first to [announce that it would] not be participating in the National Dialogue Conference — said that in the coming days his party will seek to address the subject of partnership with the national forces to determine and develop their positions, so as to ensure they are commensurate with the changes that have taken place on the political landscape. However, should these efforts be turned down, the party will take a different stance on the partnership.

The PFU and the Arab Socialist Baath Party, two of Yemen’s oldest parties, have already taken a stance regarding their participation in the National Dialogue Conference. While the first declined to participate, the second party later suspended its participation. The PFU said that its participation is conditional on the “provision of the necessary atmosphere for a meaningful and responsible dialogue,” which means “to set all required conditions for the success of the dialogue. Otherwise, the conference will be absurd and will reproduce national crisis,” according to a statement issued by the union last week.

Other parties within the JMP also objected to the rate of representation in the National Dialogue Conference. The Al-Haq party announced its intention not to participate in the national dialogue, in response “to its supporters' demands, given the share of seats it was allocated in the conference.”

In a statement, the party said that it withdrew from the conference “in response to the distribution of seats among participants of the conference.

“The rate of representation that was allocated to the party does not commensurate with its political history, its role, and its contribution to the political process since its foundation in 1990. The party paved the way for the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism,” the statement added.

However, the Al-Haq party confirms that it “wishes success for the conference and hopes that it will produce the best results.”

A number of the political parties within the JMP expressed their concerns about some problems within the bloc, which shares consensual governmental seats with the General People’s Congress (GPC), headed by former President Saleh. The GCP was allocated more seats than both the JMP and the revolutionary forces. Meanwhile, the major parties within the JMP, the Yemeni Socialist Party and the Nasserite Unionist People’s Organization did not protest their rates of representation. This angered the other parties in the PFU and the Baath party, due to the low rates of representation that they were allocated.

The Technical Committee in charge of the preparation of the national dialogue took a firm stance towards those objecting to the rates of representation in the national conference. The committee decided not to change the quotas that were declared last week, stressing that satisfying all concerned parties regarding the rates of representation is a difficult task. Its decision came following meetings with political parties, which expressed their discontent with the representation rates they have been allocated.

The Southern Movement objected to the fact that they were allocated 85 seats — which constitutes 50% of the seats in the national dialogue. Similarly, the youth [movements] were allocated 40  seats only, “although the committee has required all parties and organizations to ensure that the youth make up 20% of the party’s total share.” The committee has also addressed all objections by other political parties regarding this issue.

Found in: southern mobility movement (smm)
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