A demonstration against Yemen's presidential elections in the Southern port city of Aden on Monday, February 20. The protest sign reads, "By participating in these official elections, you keep the corrupt in place, bury the revolution alive and kill its youth".
Responding to calls to “save” their country, Yemenis voted Tuesday in an election aimed at ending President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33 years in power. The historic event was marked, however, by the fact voters had only one candidate on the ballot– Saleh’s vice president. While the lack of choice outraged some members of the opposition, others saw it as the only shot at turning the page after nearly a year of unrest.
Following Tuesday’s election, Yemen’s vice president is expected to take over the reigns of the country for the next two years as part of a power transfer deal ending Saleh’s autocratic rule. Despite the fact that a number of candidates declared their intentions to run for the presidency, only Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was approved.
The terms of Tuesday’s vote were decided on November 23, 2011 after Saleh signed a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) brokered power transfer deal in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. The agreement, which was also signed by the Joint Meeting Party, an umbrella opposition group, negotiated that Saleh and his family (a number of whom hold key military posts) step down under the condition that none of them face trial.
In Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, Tuesday’s ballot was marred by violence
. Armed men laid siege to polling stations and sporadic gunfire could be heard in the city. In the days leading up to the elections, Aden was also the site of a number of anti-vote protests which were swiftly stamped out by security forces. Aden is the heartland of the Southern movement, which has been fighting for independence from the North since the country was united in 1990. Many southerners in the post-British colonial port city are opposed to what they see as the dominance of the northerners in Yemen’s administration and military. The Southern movement called for a boycott of Tuesday’s vote.
Demonstration against Yemen's presidential elections in Aden on Monday, February 20. Video posted on YouTube by AhmedSaif1961.