Yemen: parliament approves emergency laws —in “fraudulent” vote

Yemen’s Parliament enacted several emergency measures March 23 at the request of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in an effort to end anti-government protests. The new laws give the government greater power to arrest and detain protesters and to censor the media. The new laws follow Saleh’s declaration last week of a 30-day state of emergency. The measure passed easily as many minority party members of the 301-seat parliament did not attend the session. Saleh warned that Yemen could face a civil war after opposition leaders rejected his offer to step down by the end of this year. The emergency laws expire in 30 days. despite an appeal from youths at the forefront of anti-regime protests that it could lead to a new “massacre.” (Jurist, March 23)

The opposition swiftly rejected the vote as “illegal” and fraudulent. “What they had done to pass the state of emergency is fraud and we reject it,” Abdul Razaq al-Hajri of the powerful Islamist opposition al-Islah (Reform) party said. Parliamentary officials said more than 160 MPs out of 164 who attended a special session voted for the step. But Hajri said the turnout figure was fudged and that only 133 members attended. (Middle East Online, March 23)

See our last posts on Yemen and the regional revolutions.

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