1. Home
  2. Middle East and North Africa
  3. Yemen

In eleventh-hour reversal, President Saleh announces candidacy

President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen said he was bowing to popular pressure to seek re-election in September, 24 June 2006. Saleh changed his mind and accepted his party's nomination as the presidential candidate of the General People's Congress GPC, say
(Mohamed al-Qadhi/IRIN)

Saturday’s announcement by the ruling General Peoples’ Congress (GPC) that President Ali Abdullah Saleh would be its candidate in upcoming presidential elections – despite earlier assurances to the contrary – came as little surprise, according to political analysts.

“I was sure he would run as a presidential candidate,” said Sana’a-based political analyst Ali Saif Hasan. “His announcement in July 2005 – that he wouldn’t run – was exceptional and unusual.”

Meanwhile, representatives of the broad coalition of opposition parties – which includes the Islamic Islah Party; the Socialist party; the Nasserist Unionist party; and the Ba'athist party, among others – said they were disappointed by Saleh’s reversal. “It shows that the president wasn’t serious in his earlier decision,” said Mohammed al-Rubai, head of the opposition supreme council. “I wish he hadn’t initially announced that he would step down. There was no need for such farce.”

Saleh reversed his decision at a massive rally in Sana’a organised recently by the GPC. “When I decided to stand down, my aim was to establish ground for a peaceful transfer of power,” he told tens of thousands of supporters. Saleh, president of unified Yemen since 1990, went on to say that he would “bow to the popular pressure and appeals of the Yemeni people” by accepting the nomination.

Since the 1990s, foreign governments and donor countries have considered Yemen to be one of the few Arab states taking concrete steps towards democratisation, an appraisal based on three successful parliamentary elections, held in 1993, 1997 and 2003. In the last contest, the ruling GPC won a landslide victory, clinching 226 out of a total of 301 elected seats.

Saleh, meanwhile, won the 1999 presidential election with a whopping 96.2 percent of the vote. His only challenger was Najib Qahtan al-Shaabi, an “independent” member of Saleh's party and son of the first president of the former South Yemen.

The opposition, for its part, has said it would also nominate a single presidential candidate, to be announced imminently.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Right now, we’re working with contributors on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to tell the stories of people enduring and responding to a rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis.

We’re documenting the threats to humanitarian response in the country and providing a platform for those bearing the brunt of the invasion. Our goal is to bring you the truth at a time when disinformation is rampant. 

But while much of the world’s focus may be on Ukraine, we are continuing our reporting on myriad other humanitarian disasters – from Haiti to the Sahel to Afghanistan to Myanmar. We’ve been covering humanitarian crises for more than 25 years, and our journalism has always been free, accessible for all, and – most importantly – balanced. 

You can support our journalism from just $5 a month, and every contribution will go towards our mission. 

Support The New Humanitarian today.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.