JMP’s National Council surrounded by confusion
SANA’A, Aug 17 — Leaders of the opposition parties coalition: The Joint Meeting Parties, the National Dialogue Committee, National figures and Parliamentarians, held a conference on Wednesday afternoon to announce the formation of the National Council that would lead to the next stage of the peaceful revolution.
The announcement of the council comes one month after the announcement of the transitional council by activists defected from the Joint Meeting Parties. The announcement included 142 members include Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmer and three of Al-Ahmer sons (Sadeq, Hameed and Himiar). It also includes some of those who rejected the council such as Tawakkol Karman, who announced the Presidential Transitional Council a month ago.
Although the National council succeeded in collecting an amalgamation of powerful groups it left out two of the main strategic players: the Houthis (who waged a six year war with regime) and the southern Movement (who initiated the Idea of peaceful demonstrations five years ago).
However, the JMP leaders announced them as part of the Council, the Houthis have confirmed to the Yemen Times that they have rejected their participation due to different reasons. “One of the reasons is that the positions that the representatives were chosen upon were not fair,” said Ali al-Emad, the spokesman of Houthies at change Square and one of the Houthies that were mentioned in the National council’s members. “There are some forces at the square like the independent youth, Houthis and the southern movement that were not given the right percentage of representation,” Al-Emad said. Further he stated that the representation of the National council was upon personal relationship and wealth and not based upon revolutionary credentials, such as giving more representation to the tribal allies. This in turn leads to a situation similar to that which was prevalent before the revolution.
Al-Emad also said that the council tasks are yet not clear; “would the council be the only framework for its member actions or can the JMP can still go ahead with their negotiations and initiative with Saleh” asked Al-Emad.
This will be the second time the Houthis aren’t represented in any revolutionary council; however they continue to work on gaining allies that have rejected the National Council such as some of the southern Movement Factions who demand 50% of the council’s representation.
Activist Khalid al-Ansi is one member of the coalition that announced the Transitional council on July 16; he repeated his rejection of the National Council. He said that the problem with this council is that it is dominated by the Islah party and does not seem as a step forward.
“Is this council a revolutionary council or a political one?” asked Al-Anisi. ”The JMP announced their solidarity to the revolution but it hasn’t turned this into actions and therefore they are not a component of the revolution.”
Moreover, eleven coalitions from change square came together as an alliance that has eight branches in other governorates. “We blessed this step of forming a National Council but we decline being a part of it,” said Amen Dabwan, a member of the February Independent Revolutionaries Alliance. “We chose to be a monitor entity instead of participating one. Everything around it is mysterious,” he added.
The JMP intentions of forming the National council is still a concern for many of the Change square protesters and even of the council members themselves. Intesar al-Qadhi, a member of the National Council representing the Mareb governorate women, told the Yemen Times that although she accepted membership to the Council, things are not clear for her; she considers this step a test. “So far nothing matches my ambitions, we as independent youth always wanted to work as partners in making decisions with the JMP: if they formed this Council and give us representation to take advantage of us then we won’t accept it, we will find our own way then,” said Intesar al-Qadhi.
The conference was held at the Sana’a University, protected by dozens from the First armored Division forces; a few of their armored vehicles were stationed inside the university. The Division proved that they control the area starting from the northern Seteen.
The conference was a constituent meeting held to explain the components of the National Council. Earlier, these components were unclear even to the members. The council consists of three components: Firstly: the National Assembly of the public Revolution’s Forces, contents of “all” the parties and components of the National coalition such as the Youth of the revolution, military leaders, chamber of commerce, Yemeni scientists association, Parliamentarian, Civil society organizations, the tribal allies, Southern Provinces’ sons Forum.
The second being the National Council of Peaceful Revolution Forces. Finally, the third is the Executive Body of the National Council which contains of the head of the National council and 20 of its members that will be selected by the Council, and they will be the direct leaders of the revolution.