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Yemen Parliament to Hold First Session before Houthi Elections

Yemen Parliament to Hold First Session before Houthi Elections

Monday, 1 April, 2019 - 07:30
Houthis stand outside the parliament in Sanaa. (Reuters)
Aden - Asharq Al-Awsat

Deputy Speaker in the legitimate Yemeni parliament Mohammad al-Shaddadi urged pro-legitimacy deputies to prepare to hold the first parliamentary session in April, without specifying the exact date or location.

In a letter, Shaddadi urged all lawmakers outside of Yemen to fly to Riyadh by March 31 where they will be transported to the session. As for MPs present in Yemen, he asked them to disclose their location so that arrangements can be made for transporting them to the parliament meeting.

A number of MPs told Asharq Al-Awsat, however, that the preparations are unlikely to be complete by the deadline.

Parliamentary sources asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat that the arrangements are so far incomplete, especially with the return of deputies from Riyadh to various capitals where they reside, including Sultan al-Burkani, the head of Yemen's General People's Congress (GPC), who returned to Cairo Saturday.

Observers explained that the legitimate authority was seeking to preempt parliamentary by-elections by the Iran-backed Houthi militias that are scheduled for April 13.

Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi had previously ordered the relocation of the 301-member parliament to the temporary capital Aden and the resumption of its session. A total of 134 lawmakers have joined the legitimacy out of 276 who are still alive.

Thirty-four lawmakers have died and some 100 remain in Sanaa and other regions under Houthi control. They are led by parliament Speaker Yehya al-Rahi, who is allied to the militias.

The Sanaa parliament holds meetings that are illegal because they lack the necessary quorum. The Houthis also terrorize lawmakers into attending the meetings.

Realizing the need to win a majority in parliament, the Houthis decided to hold the by-elections in order to fill vacant seats at the legislature. The militias will, however, only be able to hold the polls in areas under their control.

Days ago, the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum in Aden denounced the Houthi attempt to hold elections. In its statement, it said that militias have no legal capacity to hold such polls as they violate the constitution and will only prolong the suffering of the people.

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