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The Yemen political parties agreed Wednesday to delay the Parliamentary elections two years for discussing more comprehensive political reforms. The elections were supposed to take place next April 27th.
The five political parties represented in the House of Representatives submitted Wednesday a request to the chairmanship of the House asking for the delay.
The constitution gives the right to two thirds of the members of the House to request the delay. The House agreed to hold an exceptional session Thursday February 26th, 2009 for voting on extending the term of the current House for two additional years.
The delay comes after about two years of failed series of dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition alliance which include the four parties of the Islamists, Socialists, Nasserites, and Ba'ath, over reaching an agreement to conduct free and fair elections.
The crisis between the two sides reached a deadlock on August 18th, 2008, when the majority of the ruling party, General People's Congress, GPC, voted for forming a supreme elections' committee without participation of opposition alliance, the Joint Meeting Parties, JMPs.
Ever since the opposition alliance, JMPs, have been refusing the committee and all steps taken by it in preparation for the lections day as illegal.
The JMPs have been saying they will go to "a nation-wide consultation process" to get out the political crisis, instead of going to the polls.
The ruling party, GPC, accused them of wanting to consult with the rebels in the northern province of Sa’ada, and secessionists in the south and also terrorists and extremists in the country.
The delay will remove fears and concerns expressed by some observers from possible violence if elections were to take place without a compromise between the parties.
The letter submitted to the House says," The parties signed hereunder, request the presidium of the House of Representatives to take the constitutional procedures required for amending the article number 65 of the constitution relating to the duration of House of the Representatives, in a way which will allow to extend the term of the current House for two additional years, because the time is not enough for doing the following reforms:
First: To give the opportunity for the political parties and civil society organizations to participate in constitutional amendments required for development of the political and elections' systems.
Second, to enable the political parties represented in the House to complete discussions of the topics not agreed upon. Third, to form a supreme committee for elections according to the law.