YEMEN
Parliamentary Chamber: Majlis Annowab

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1993

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Chamber:
  Majlis Annowab


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  27 April 1993


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all 301 seats in the new House of Representatives to replace the provisional legislature that had been set up following the unification of the two Yemens in 1990.


Background and outcome of elections:

  In May 1990, following the unification of the northern Yemen Arab Republic and the southern People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, a joint house of Representatives comprising members of the former legislatures as well as 31 appointed members was set up to serve as the legislature for a 30-month transitional period, at the end of which parliamentary elections would be held. Government was shared by the General People’s Congress (GPC), the former ruling party in the north, and the Yemen Socialist Party (YSP), which had ruled in the formerly socialist South.

The general elections were postponed once as a result of continuing unrest and earlier political violence in the country. In November 1992, the country’s political leaders announced that they had reached agreement for elections to be held the following April. They were widely considered as the first free, multiparty polls not only in Yemen but also in the Arabian peninsula as a whole.

Thousands of candidates (including 49 women, for the first time) entered the race for the 301 seats at stake although fewer than 30% of these candidates formally represented the some 50 contending parties. The main contestants were President of the Republic Ali Adullah Saleh’s GPC and the YSP of Vice President Ali Salem Al-Baid. They, however, faced a stiff challenge from the Islamic fundamentalist group, the Yemen Alliance for Reform (YAR-al-Islah). Social and economic problems (such as unemployment, inflation, low foreign investment) figured prominently in the campaign rhetoric.

Polling took place against a background of disturbances and violence. Security was tight and voting was massive as up to 90% of the registered voters reportedly went to the polls. The results showed that the main parties had maintained their traditional strongholds. The GPC won a total of 122 seats, falling short of an absolute majority, while the YSP won only 56 seats, coming in third after the surprisingly strong YAR. Most of the remaining seats were won by independent candidates, who subsequently joined either the GPC or the YSP.

The opposition alleged that there had been vote-rigging and other electoral malpractices by the main parties but foreign election monitors declared that the irregularities had been minimal and could not be said to have tampered with the free and fair character of the elections.

On 10 May, GPC and YSP agreed to create a united parliamentary bloc as the first step towards a formal merger. Five days later, Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar, leader of YAR, was elected Speaker of the newly elected House of Representatives and, on 30 May, a coalition Government was formed, comprising the three main parties that had won the most seats (GPC, YSP and YAR). Outgoing Prime Minister Haider Abu Bakr al-Attas, leader of YSP, retained his post and President Saleh (Head of State in North Yemen since 1978) continued in his.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (27 April 1993): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 2,700,000 (approx.)
Voters 90% (approx.)

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
General People’s Congress (GPC) 122
Yemeni Alliance for Reform (YAR-al-Islah) 62
Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) 56
Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party 6
Truth Party 2
Nasserite Popular Unionist Organisation 1
Nasserite Correction Organisation 1
United Democratic Front 1
Independents 48*

Comments:
  * Soon after the elections, at least 21 of these joined the GPC to give it a near absolute majority. Another 12 joined the YSP.
Plus two vacancies.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 299
Women: 2


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Copyright 1993 Inter-Parliamentary Union