Intelligence orchestrate pro-Saleh drive

April 14, 2006 at 4:50 AM
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SANAA, Yemen, April 14 (UPI) -- The Union of Yemen's Youth have called on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to seek reelection in a move the opposition believe is orchestrated by intelligence.

The Union's Central Council issued a statement at the end of its third general meeting Friday pleading with Saleh to reverse a decision not to run for re-election in the presidential elections to be held in September.

It also sent a letter to Saleh saying "with the upcoming celebration of the 16th anniversary of Yemen's re-unification on May 22, 1990, that historical day in which our people achieved unity under your leadership, ending a state of conflict and separation, and placing Yemen in a stronger position at the regional, Arab and international levels, plead with you to reconsider your decision."

Opposition parties suggested in their newspapers that the Department of Political Intelligence is behind the union's plea and is planning to organize demonstrations to press Saleh to run.

The demonstrations will be coupled with the "carnival that will take place on the occasion of the unification anniversary" in the province of Hadida on the Red Sea.

The opposition also claimed that a campaign was orchestrated by the intelligence service to force students and professors in the schools in Sanaa and Hadida province to sign petitions demanding Saleh to enter the race.

The opposition weekly al-Wasat magazine said funds ranging between $255 and $1275 were distributed to local tribal leaders and prominent figures to encourage citizens to sign the petitions and participate in demonstrations backing Saleh.

The Yemeni president announced last July that he would not seek another term in office. He renewed this claim in an interview last month.

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