Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Polls open in Yemen with sole US-backed pres. candidate

Members of the Yemeni election committee prepare ballot boxes on the eve of Yemen’s presidential election at a polling station, Sana’a, February 20, 2012

Source: Press TV

Voting has begun in Yemen’s presidential election with only one candidate on the ballot amid the opposition’s call for the downfall of the entire regime.

The polls opened Tuesday, with 12 million eligible voters, and the sole candidate Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The election is to put an end to Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule and formally transfer power to his assistant, Hadi.

However, the country’s major opposition groups, including the Southern Movement and the Southern Shia group have boycotted the election, demanding the removal of the regime that abounds with Saleh-era officials.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has thrown Washington’s weight behind Yemen’s election, offering his support to Hadi.

In a letter to the Yemeni vice president, Obama said Yemen could be an example of the peaceful transition of power in the Middle East.

This is while demonstrations are expected to continue in Yemen as protesters say their revolution will not end until Saleh and all corrupt government officials are put behind bars.

On Monday, several polling stations were the target of bomb attacks prior to the beginning of the polls in the southern province of Aden and the southern port city of al-Makla, with no reports of casualties. The protesters also blocked roads leading to five villages in Daleh province, making it impossible for poll organizers to send ballot boxes there.

Saleh is currently in the US for medical treatment. He left Yemen in mid-January, shortly after the country’s parliament passed a law which grants him full immunity from prosecution.

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