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Yemen's ruling General People's Congress (GPC) proposed a constitutional amendment that stipulates ability for president to be elected for two consecutive terms each of five years, a lawmaker with the ruling party announced. If approved by the GPC-dominated parliament, incumbent Ali Abdullah Saleh could become president for life.

 

According to another GPC member, the proposed amendment will be submitted to a poll, which will be held simultaneously with parliamentary elections on 27 April. The opposition has threatened to boycott the upcoming elections.

 

Saleh’s current term ends in 2013.

 

December 30, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk


 

This move by the ruling party will undoubtedly be received with much dismay by the opposition. Saleh has declared in 2002 and 2006 that he does not intend to stand for further terms, but in both occasions, did. He won the last elections for a seven-year term with over 77% of the vote.

 

Yemen has been fighting a long civil conflict with the south, with continued unrest as southern residents accuse the government of not allowing them to take government and army jobs. There has been increased and intensified calls from the south for secession. One of the proposed solutions, put forward by a leading north Yemeni tribal leader earlier in 2010, was to appoint a president from the south. Whilst that plan may have led to an improvement of the prospects for not breaking up the country, if the ruling party does indeed move to make Saleh president for life, the opposition, particularly from the south will intensify their calls for secession.

 

If the move is implemented, it is likely Yemen will witness further civil unrest, across the country.