French Government joins nations supporting elections in Yemen
Sana’a, Sunday 9 February 2014, signaling greater international cooperation for the transitional period and the electoral processes that are its backbone, the United Nations Development Programme and the French Government on Sunday formally signed an agreement that would contribute some US$ 406,620 to Yemen’s new voter registry. By pledging more support to UNDP’s Support to the Elections during the Transitional Period (SETP) project and its Multi-Donors Basket Fund (MDBF), France will further enhance the ability of the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) to rollout a nationwide biometric voter registration campaign over the next few months.
During a breakfast event at the French Ambassador’s Residence, United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and France’s Ambassador to Yemen M. Franck Gellet discussed the importance of transforming the currently outdated, and controversial, voter registry into a technological-advanced biometric system that would enhance transparency and good governance in Yemen. “The French Government’s support to the new voter registry and the Yemeni elections commission is only further proof that the international community is dedicated to the idea of a truly “new Yemen,” said Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed. “With its contribution to UNDP’s SETP project, the French Government will be enhancing Yemen’s ability to conduct free and fair electoral processes not only during the transition, but even after its conclusion as the country forges a new citizen-driven identity.”
Creating a new voter registry is a crucial part of the Gulf Cooperation Council Transitional Agreement, which called for a peaceful transfer of power from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, to his vice-president Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi through Early Presidential Elections, and the establishment of transition phase with milestones such as a Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, a Constitutional Referendum, Parliamentary Elections, and Presidential Elections signaling the end of the transition.
The French Government is providing funding in order to assist the SCER in implementing a nationwide communication strategy that will seek to educate the public about the biometric voter registration process, and also develop the capacity of the SCER to implement such a large-scale program. With the signing of the agreement, the French Government has reiterated its support for the electoral processes that will ultimately shape the country following the successful conclusion of the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference in late January.
France joins eight nations currently a part of the MDBF, all of which have dedicated both financial and material support to the electoral processes of the transition.
Edward Christow, Good Governance Team Leader