Yemeni presidential election, 2006
The Yemen presidential election of 2006 was held on 20 September 2006. Incumbent president Ali Abdullah Saleh of the General People's Congress party defeated the Yemen opposition coalition candidate Faisal Bin Shamlan. Municipal elections were also held on the same day.
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Ali Abdullah Saleh has been president of modern Yemen ever since its reunification in 1990. Prior to reunification, Saleh was the president of Yemen Arab Republic from 1978 to 1990. He became Yemen's first directly elected president in 1999, winning more than 96% of the vote.
On 17 July 2005, Saleh announced that he would not run for presidency in the 2006 election and later reconfirmed his decision on 21 June 2006 while addressing fellow party members. This announcement sparked demonstrations of thousands of Yemenis urging Saleh to reverse his decision as well as demonstrations of thousands urging Saleh to follow through with his decision. However, while addressing tens of thousands of supporters in Sana'a on the 24 June 2006, Saleh rescinded his earlier decision stating "I comply with the people's pressure and upon the people's desire; I will run in the coming polls." This is not the first time Saleh has reversed the decision to not run; he did so in the 1999 election.
On 2 July 2006 a coalition of opposition parties named Faisal Bin Shamlan as their candidate. Prior to the reunification of South and North Yemen in 1990, Shamlan was the Minister of Infrastructure and Oil in the socialist government of South Yemen.
On 29 August 2006, the nephew of presidential candidate Ahmad Al Majeedi was gunned down in his house by unidentified gunmen. Adel Al Majeedi was leading the election campaign for his uncle in his home province of Lahj. The shooting is under investigation and no suspects have been identified. Al Majeedi's membership in the Yemen Socialist Party was frozen, and he was accused by the party of working for the ruling party, the General People's Congress (GPC).
On 12 September 2006, at least 51 people were killed and more than 200 injured when a stampede broke out in a stadium packed with thousands of supporters of Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The stadium exceeded its capacity of around 10,000 with a crowd that included government workers and students brought in on government buses.
The day of the election was marked by some violence; according to the opposition, eight people died in clashes. Khaled Hassan, an opposition Nasserist candidate running in the municipal elections, was killed in a clash with ruling party supporters in Taiz province.
According to election officials, with about 4% of ballot boxes counted Saleh had 82% of the vote and bin Shamlan had 16%. An election official also said that about five million people voted (out of 9.2 million eligible voters). The opposition disputed this overwhelming majority for Saleh, saying that the count gave Saleh 60% and bin Shamlan 40%, and it alleged electoral violations. The European Union Election Observation Mission called the election "an open and genuine contest", but with "important shortcomings". It said that at some polling stations there was intimidation, violation of voter secrecy, campaigning by the GPC, and underage voting.
Subsequent results, with most (17,000 out of 27,000) of the ballot boxes counted, continued to give Saleh an overwhelming majority, with 3.4 million votes against 880,000 for bin Shamlan. The opposition, alleging fraud, threatened a massive protest.
Final results on September 23 showed Saleh with 77.2% of the vote and bin Shamlan with 21.8%. Bin Shamlan subsequently accepted the results as a "reality", although he said that they did not reflect the people's will. Saleh was sworn in for his new term on September 27.
|Candidates - Nominating parties||Votes||%|
|Ali Abdullah Saleh - General People's Congress||4,149,673||77.17|
|Faisal Bin Shamlan - Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) opposition coalition||1,173,075||21.82|
|Total valid votes (turnout 65.2%)||5,377,238||100.00|
|Total votes cast||6,025,818|
|Source: Yemen Times[page needed]|
- "Bowing out?". Al-Ahram Weekly. 21–27 July 2006.
- ""It’s not a political ploy," says President Saleh". Yemen Times. 21 June 2006.
- "Yemeni president to stand again". BBC News. 24 June 2006.
- "Yemen president seeks another run". Aljazeera. 24 June 2006.
- "Nephew of presidential candidate gunned down". Yemen Times. 30 August 2006.
- Ahmed Al-Haj (12 September 2006). "51 killed in stampede at Yemeni rally". Associated Press.
- "Yemen president leads vote count", BBC.co.uk, September 21, 2006.
- "Yemeni municipal elections candidate killed south of capital", The Associated Press, September 20, 2006.
- "Yemen president leads in election polls", Aljazeera.net, September 21, 2006.
- Donna Abu-Nasr, "Yemeni Opposition Alleges Violations", Associated Press, September 21, 2006.
- Donna Abu-Nasr, "Yemeni Opposition Threatens Protest", AP, September 22, 2006.
- "Saleh re-elected president of Yemen", Aljazeera.net, September 23, 2006.
- "Saleh sworn in for another term", Gulf Times (Qatar), September 28, 2006.