Houthis and Southern Movement to boycott February election

Published on 30 January 2012 in News
Ali Saeed (author), Mohamed Bin Sallam (author)

Ali Saeed


Mohamed Bin Sallam

A march in Al-Mukalla, Hadramout on January 13 demanding independence of the south and showing their complete rejection of the early presidential elections due on February 21. (www.yaf3press.net)

A march in Al-Mukalla, Hadramout on January 13 demanding independence of the south and showing their complete rejection of the early presidential elections due on February 21. (www.yaf3press.net)

SANA’A — The Houthis in the north of Yemen and the secessionist Southern Movement in the south announced plans to boycott the presidential elections set for February 21.


“According to the present political situation, the Southern Movement will not participate in the coming presidential elections,” Khaled Ba Madhaf, a leader of the Southern Movement in Aden, told the Yemen Times on Sunday.


“The regime in Sana’a has not yet recognized the southern cause. How can they want us to move a step forward while injured people of the peaceful Southern Movement are on beds at home without treatment,” Ba Madhaf said.


“The situation tells us that unity is no longer in place and the 1994 war is still ongoing,” he added.


“All the people of the south will boycott the elections,” Ba Madhaf said.


The Houthis, who make up the second largest political group in Yemen and who have been running Sa’ada governorate on the border with Saudi Arabia since March, will also boycott the election.


Saleh Habra, Houthis spokesman, told the Yemen Times that his group has not recognized the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) deal between the JMP – the traditional opposition coalition – and outgoing president Saleh.


Since the popular uprising erupted in February last year, leaders and activists of the Southern Movement in Aden have been visiting Sa’ada to meet with Houthi leaders, according to the Houthis’ media office.


Both groups have taken similar positions, rejecting the GCC initiative and now boycotting the presidential elections, set to take place next month.


However Ba Madhaf denied any coordination between the Southern Movement and the Houthis on their unified stances.


“We sympathize with the Houthis, but there is no coordination with them,” he said.


Although the upcoming election only has one candidate, Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, earlier this month the GPC threatened to delay the vote, citing unrest and instability.


But despite ongoing security issues, the election is still set to go ahead on February 21.


In the latest sign of opposition to next month’s election, gunmen attacked the election committee office in Aden, reported Reuters. Armed with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades, they injured two soldiers before fleeing.


In Sana’a, several blasts were reported on Saturday at the headquarters of the First Armored Division, in the northwest of the city.


A military source said that three shells were fired into the camp, though he added that there were no reported casualties.


An eyewitness said the shells came from the mountains in the southwest, where several Republican Guard camps are located. However, an officer of the First Armored Division said the blasts were caused by explosive devices planted in the camp – including one at the leadership office of the defected General Ali Mohsen.


Battles also continued between the Houthis and Salafists in Sa’ada and Hajja, with local sources stating that dozens were killed and many others injured.


The renewed fighting pushed the number of displaced people in Hajja, to more than 1,000.


Relief workers said that the displaced people in Haradh, Hajja, are short of food and shelter, calling for urgent intervention by aid organizations.