House of Representatives: A house of ineffectiveness

Published on 17 September 2012 in Report
Amal Al-Yarisi (writer), Amal Al-Yarisi (photographer)

Amal Al-Yarisi


Amal Al-Yarisi

The House of Representatives demonstrates “intangible” performance, YPC Manager Hafit Al-Bukari said.

The House of Representatives demonstrates “intangible” performance, YPC Manager Hafit Al-Bukari said.

Since the political uprising of last year, the monitoring performance of the parliament has been characterized as weak, with sessions often halted for lengthy time periods, according to a report prepared by the Yemeni Polls Center (YPC) in Sana’a.

 The House of the Representatives is almost legislatively paralyzed. Because of the structure of the parliament, members cannot perform their legislative duties while at the same time playing into ineffective political sidings. This has led to a fragile supervising and legislative role, according to Hafit Al-Bukari, the manager of YPC.

Al-Bukari said the legitimacy of the parliament is neither clear nor effective, indicating its term has ended.

“Currently, the parliament drives its legitimacy from political agreements represented by the Gulf initiative,” he said.

Parliament today handles insignificant missions in order to complete the roles of government and of the executive authority, separate from its legitimate legislative missions, Al-Bukari said.

“The House of the Representatives has only been responding to political powers, and its performance is intangible.”

 Abdulaziz Jubari, an independent parliament member, said the Gulf initiative gave the parliament an in to cooperate with the rest of the government; however, it has not done fulfilled this role.

“The parliament members have been believing that their role is to attend and go,” Jubari said.

Ahmed Saif Hashid, another independent parliament member, said parliament is still as it was in the past, and it works based on the Gulf initiative. He said the legislative body cannot genuinely reform the situation either now or in the future.

“Change cannot be realized while parliament still performs based on political share and quotas of power that largely impact its performance,” he said. “The parliament is one of the corrupt factions.”

In addition to its feeble supervisory and legislative role, in the past period, parliament has witnessed a state of tension among its members. For example, some members enter the parliament carrying weapons. Consequently, the parliament head issued a decision banning weapons inside the building.

Ali Al-Ansi, a parliament member, said all members agreed on the decision to ban weapons, indicating that the reason behind the rifts is the differing opinions of the parliamentarians.

However, the weapons ban has not been implemented, according to Mohammed Al-Qubati, an opposition member.

“These deeds are legitimately unacceptable, and the breaches of parliament is a breach of national sovereignty.”

Al-Bukari said parliament members are the ones who contradict the laws they help create; a shining example is their inability to execute the decision to ban weapons on the grounds.

“The decision suggested by the parliament head is symbolic and useless because it could only be applied inside the parliament. It is supposed to be that parliament members should not carry weapons outside as well.”

Al-Bukari said members don’t remember such a decision because they think they are the state and stand for the law.

“We look for nothing but a state of law and order,” parliament member Mohammed Naji Al-Shaef said.

Al-Shaef denied accusations that he broke into the parliament grounds, accusing the deputy head of parliament, Himyar Al-Ahmer, of contravening the parliament decree that bans weapons.

What Al-Ahmer did provoked the members of parliament; thus, some of them ended up coming onto the building grounds by force, with escorts, according to Al-Shaef.

Al-Qubati said parliament leadership should lift immunity from anyone looking down on its decrees.

For his part, Sheikh Sinan Al-Aji, a parliament member affiliated with the General People’s Congress, said all members must implement any decision; this has not happened.

“These people don’t know the meaning of the state of law and order,” Al-Bukari said. “These members came just to form gangs in the parliament. They don’t know the parliament is a legislative council. It should be a model in applying and respecting the law. They count the parliament as a power to strengthen their tribal strength. Anyone showing disrespect for this council doesn’t deserve to be one of its members.”

He went on to say the state made a mistake by allowing such members to join a state institution.

“The situation of the parliament is bad and almost ineffective because of them.”