Abdulmalik Al-Fohidi Almotamar.net
- In 2007 the opposition Yemen Congregation for Reform (Islah) Islamic oriented Party maintained its having political and media sway over the Joint meeting Parties (JMP) block, also consisting of Yemen Socialist Party and the Nasserite Unionist Organisation.
Since the establishment of the JMP in 2003 the Islah tried to impose its hegemony on the parties members of the block, taking advantage of their weakness and their internal problems as well as Islah's financial capabilities that are bigger that those of the other parties of the block.
The Islah has found in the JMP as a political instrument to make up for dismantle of its former alliance with the General People's Congress (GPC) and thus the Islah continued in imposing its control on the JMP, especially after withdrawal of other parties from the block that joined it at its establishment, mainly the Arab Baath Socialist Party and the September Congregation.
Phenomena of Islah hegemony on the JMP greatly emerged during the period that preceded the presidential and local elections in Yemen in 2006. The Islah then imposed nomination of Eng. Faisal Bin Shamlan as candidate for the presidential election who, despite of his being independent, his aides are closer to the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition to its full control over managing the electoral campaigns, the presidential and local carried out for the JMP to an extent that it has excluded many of its allies in the governorates and even the participation in the campaigns.
Contrary to expectations of some observers of the political affairs in Yemen predicting that the parties of the JMP would prepare an assessment of their performance in the last year in line with results of the electoral defeat they sustained in the presidential and local elections, particularly the YSP and the Nasserite Organisation which have lost much of their support because of their subservience to Islah party in the elections, the Islah intentionally worked to tighten its control on the JMP during the year 2007. that was in a form made some observers view that Islah has succeeded in rendering its two allies into tools helping it in running its political battle against the ruling party especially that failure of the JMP candidate to the presidential elections had represented a defeat for the Islah owing to the candidate's political background.
The Islah hegemony over the JMP was clearly seen in many phenomena mainly in the political decision-making and employment of the JMP as fuel for practices of activities of Islah-affiliate civilian organisations.
Islah and JMP's decision-making
During 2007 the Islah party was able to hold its full sway over the JMP's political performance in an unprecedented manner and that has clearly emerged through the Islah control over the JMP political decision-making.
That can be proved by many facts that appeared last year, whether concerning stands related to defining the course of dialogue with the GPC or those related to determining stands about most of the issues the Yemeni arena has witnessed but most prominent indications of Islah control appeared in hindering acceptance of the JMP of president Ali Abdullah Saleh's call for attending a dialogue meeting on 24 September 2007, where the president announced the project of constitutional amendments.
After agreement of the YSP and the Nasserite Organisation to respond to that call and sending names of their representatives to the presidency, all have been surprised of the JMP failure to attend the meeting so that to appear that the Islah party was behind preventing of its two allies from attending the meeting and compelling them to back down from their acceptance at the last moment.
And after the people's and political welcome the project of constitutional amendments was received with it was eye-catching that proposals of amendments to be welcomed inside the JMP circles especially in circles of leaderships of the YSP that announced their welcome of contents of the amendments project particularly with respect to the local rule and the woman quota, but the Islah succeeded in impeding the translation of that YSP welcome into practice by associating viewpoints of those parties with decision of the JMP over which the Islah holds sway.
Observers view that the support and enthusiasm demonstrated by the YSP stances especially regarding the local rule and the woman and most articles of the amendments project aroused fears of the Islah that the YSP would head for dialogue with the GPC on points of the amendments particularly that they included a number of issues that the YSP has been demanding for several years. Thus the Islah succeeded in suppressing enthusiasm and welcome of the YSP through setting up priorities of the JMP in the dialogue and giving priority to the subject of the electoral system to the rest of other topics that maybe were the object of accord between the GPC and sand parties of the JMP such as the YSP and so that the Islah to lead the dialogue between the parties to a deadlock especially after it and the JMP have backed down from carrying out the agreement of principles concerning the formation of the elections commission from judges.
The Islah media control over the JMP
Following the same pursuit with which the Islah succeeded in imposing its control over media and election campaigns of the JMP during the presidential elections of 2006 the year 2007 was no different. Islah appeared to be in full control of the JMP's information address in a way the Islah media represented the main source of publishing all political and media stands of the JMP. Observers notice that the Islah alsahwa.net is the first source of all the JMP's statements, stances and statements made by leaderships of the JMP on various issues and other JMP member parties' websites were merely repeating what the Islah media publish.
Islah's organisations lead the JMP
The Islah party did not stop at imposing its control on drafting the political decision and defining the form and content of the media address of the JMP but extended it to the area of civilian action by taking advantage of the climates of freedoms available for civil organisations to benefit from them in producing political and media address supportive of its political stands by exploiting the parties of the JMP to support those civil organisations that are run by cadres politically affiliated to the Islah.
The programme of sits-in carried out during the year 2007 by the Female Journalists without Restraints Organisation, chaired by the leading Islah member Tawakul Karman, reflects the extent of the Islah party success in rendering an organisation defending rights into a political instrument dragging behind it leaderships of the JMP to squares of sit-in to express demands adopted by the Islah.
While leaderships of parties of the JMP particularly the YSP and the Nasserite were incapable of organising a civil mass festival or even a partisan festival, the year of 2007 witnessed an Islah hegemony over organisation of sit-in festivals carried out by organisations following the Islah and rendered the JMP cadres to merely groups of décor in those activities.
The question now is that with advent of the New Year would the parties of the JMP and its leaderships and bases accept continuation of the Islah control over the JMP?