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Yemen: All Set for the One Man Presidential Election

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

One more day to go to Yemen's uncontested and unprecedented “one man” election”, which will start tomorrow, February 21, 2012, ending 33 years of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule and costing the country more than US$48 million.

Following are some of the comments of journalists covering the event:

@kasinof: just arrived in Sanaa after 2 month absence. Hadi posters everywhere, no checkpoints, few random armed tribesmen in hasaba. Feels different

@tomfinn2: The election campaign here is amazingly thorough, posters on every corner, I've even started dreaming about Hadi.. #Yemen

@kellymcevers: Good to be back in #Yemen. Bullets not flying, airport not on fire, election tomorrow. The morning is quiet over the old city.

@ionacraig: The Yemen national anthem has been playing on constant rotation outside my window for the last half hour. Thank you, I am now brainwashed.

@JamjoomCNN: Amazed to see so many pictures and posters of Hadi around Sana'a (and a lot fewer of Saleh since the last time I was here) #Yemen

@HughNaylor: Yemen: Movenpick hotel where journos register for “election” of new prez. Picture of old prez, Ali Abdullah Saleh, hangs over entry way.

@adammbaron: i'm more than willing to bet that posters of soon-to-be president hadi outnumber people in #sanaa #yemen

A YouTube video entitled “Together we will destroy it” posted by @ezatwagdi mocks the official campaign video “Together we will build it” posted by the official election campaign:

The video depicts Saleh's supporters and former opponents happily dancing together carrying signs saying “Together, on February 21, to reach power.”

The signs translate into English as follows:

Yes to a good successor of a good predecessor

God forgives what happened in the past, yes to building a new Yemen

A president for Yemen, no a president for the government

We announce our peaceful support to the quiet (literal translation of presidential candidate Hadi's name) and peaceful person

Only me and the rest are cats

Wish me luck in the elections…Hadi

A graph posted in @KatieZimmerman‘s article in Critical Threats poses a very important question, if assuming Yemen does get rid of Saleh's rule with the so called election, how and will it ever get rid of the Saleh's dominating family network, who still in effect rule Yemen.

Check out the graphic (http://bit.ly/zYBD9P) in my new piece http://bit.ly/zN5DUZ on #Yemen. Thanks to @TeamPraescient

Saleh Family Network

Saleh Family Network

She points out:

Saleh’s government rested on a patronage network built over the course of his three-decade rule that entrenched his family and close associates in top positions throughout the government and the military. Saleh’s reach extended throughout the state’s organs, making it nearly impossible to disentangle his patronage network from the actual state. In this respect, Saleh’s Yemen was much more like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq than like Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, in which the military retained a considerable degree of autonomy.

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

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