The people’s movements in the Middle East began to influence Yemen starting from January 16, 2011 and turned into a crisis that involved clashes between the dissidents and the armed forces. In an effort to solve the crisis, two documents were adopted under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council on November 23, 2011. The first of these documents is named GCC Document of Agreement while the other is called Mechanism of Application for the Document of Agreement. Within the framework that the above documents have drawn the road map for the political transition, early elections for Presidency were held on February 21, 2012 in Yemen.
The elections in which only acting President Abd-Rabbu Mansur Hadi ran for office as a result of the decision agreed by both the government and the opposition in Yemen were observed by a delegation of 7 members authorized by our Ministry. Our delegation was headed by SAM Vice Chair Dr.Mesut Özcan along with other members of our Ministry and academicians from various universities. Due to the security situation in Yemen, the elections were observed within the borders of capital Sana by two different groups.
Our election observation delegation met with the representatives of international organizations, local institutions, various political groups and academicians prior to the elections. In this context, meetings were held with the UNDP officials, the Head of the Yemeni Higher Council of Election and Referendum as well as the External Relations official of this council, Secretary General of the Presidency Dr. Abdulhadi Al-Hamadani, General Secretary of the Reform Party and the current Head of the Joint Opposition Movement Abdulvahab Al-Ansi, Foreign Relations Representative of the Reform Party and the former Minister of Energy Abdullah Muhsin Al-Akva, Yemen Foreign Ministry official from the Asia department which also includes Turkey Muhammed Mutahar El Ushabi, Yemen Foreign Ministry official in charge of Turkey issues Antar Al-Namer and the Presidents of Sana and Future Universities. Our delegation also visited the tents within a 5 km area around Sana University formed by the young representatives of the opposition in the field.
The Higher Council announced that, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi was elected as the new president by receiving the 99.8 % of the votes cast. According to the announcement, Hadi received 6.635.192 of the 6.651.166 votes while 8.923 votes were void and 15.974 people cast empty ballots. In the previous presidential election that was held on September 20, 2006, the number of registered voters had been indicated as 9,247,000 in the country. Experts assume that given the number of unregistered voters, the total number of voters in Yemen should be around 11-12 million. Based on this, the election turnout seems to be around 55-60%. However, because the exact number of unregistered voters is unknown this number was not announced by the higher council.
The commonly agreed observations of our delegation during the election process in Sana are as follows: Election excitement was present to a certain extent and the whole process was completed without any conflict. It is critically important for the future of democracy in Yemen that it held the elections in peace despite certain glitches and problems during the process that the country is going through.
The fact that the consensus over one candidate by the government and the opposition paved the way for violations and complacency should be taken into consideration while evaluating the election results.
On the other hand, in all the schools they visited, members of our delegation were warmly welcomed and provided with the necessary conditions for a smooth observation by the security forces, the election officials and as well as the voters when they indicated that they were from Turkey.